Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts about my Mom

I'm blasting Christmas music in the hopes that it will wake me up - I even picked the Songza playlist that featured Christmas Pop since I need something loud and fun. I'm feeling kinda blah at work lately and that's not a feeling that I want to experience at work! I want to honor this company and my employer well by being super awake and on it. Hopefully between the cup of tea in front of me and the music my mind will wake up!

My mom & I, fall 2013

Mom & I, fall of 1986

Last night we celebrated my mom's 61st birthday. I wrote about her 60th birthday here. As I wrote in her birthday card I got to thinking about the sort of mom she's been. My mom grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family. My grandpa was a travelling salesman and was away much of the time - which was probably preferable since he was a pretty mean, abusive man. My granny raised my Mom and my Auntie Leslie - and she did the best she could. She wasn't one of those mom's that had a natural maternal instinct - she didn't cook (they ate out most of the time, which at that time was very rare!), or nurture. She loved learning and music though, and passed those values on to her girls, especially to my Mom. My mom was raised with some neat advantages (travel, education, music training) and some really hard circumstances (cold parents, an angry marriage, an abusive father). She left home at 18 after to pursue education and music. While in college she met a woman named Anne who told her about Jesus, and showed her friendship and love. Mom decided to follow God, and mirrored her life to be about him. This was the start of a life that changed for the better, that had room for hope and for functionality. She moved to a small town (Port Alberni) to teach right out of college - once she settled into a church (Arrowsmith) she met my Dad. The simple end to the story is that they fell in love, got married, had two daughters and built their family in Port, but the reality is much less simple. 
The first shot of us as a family of 4, May of 1985.
Clearly I'm stoked about this.

The four us in Victoria, probably summer of 1991 (?)

With my mom's background she was afraid to fail in marriage -  when my parents were married my Granny was divorced and single, and my Grandpa was on marriage number 2 (Praise the Lord, it was to a most fabulous, gift-of-a-woman). She didn't know how she could stand in front of people and declare that she would love my Dad - that terrified her. Love is very vulnerable. More than that she didn't think marriages could last. She told my Dad she would marry him, but that she didn't think it would last more than 5 years. 30+ years later they're still going strong, a fact that would have floored her if she could have known it at the time. They made a commitment to stay together, and they stayed. Through hard times and good times, and now hard and good times again. They are very much together. And over the years it's been pure joy to watch their love grow and strengthen.

If getting married was scary to my Mom, then parenting was even more foreign and intimidating! She had no idea what it looked like to raise children to follow God and to  love them well, and she so desperately wanted to get it right. My mom didn't have a strong maternal, nurturing instinct. She has a strong, loving, generous heart but that's not a language she knows how to communicate in. Dad always tells us about how when he was away for 3 months on a missions trip in their dating time, rather than receiving love letters penned by my mom, he received letters that were basically an itinerary - comings and goings, not a lot of feeling. It's just not how she communicates. As a Mom she did the things she knew to set us up well - she married a good godly man (she still brings this up often), she valued time with us, she put high stock in education and extra-curriculars, and she made sure we saw family often. She wasn't the sort of mom you curled up with on the couch to talk about feelings, but she made sure we had people around we could do that with, and to be fair, our Dad was great for feelings talks. He speaks the heart language. 

I look at what she overcame to raise us and I'm amazed by what she accomplished. She had no idea what she was doing! She poured her heart out for us though - she loved with sacrifice and generosity. She raised us to love others - so much of our lives was spent thinking of ways to bless others, to serve others, to love others. I have so many "Robin-isms" that had shaped how I love people. I quote her all the time! She was always looking out for outsiders, so they could be included. We had a constant stream of people in and out of our home - Mom believed hosting was super important to create community and friendship. We were raised to help and participate, and engage the kids of people visiting. just hit me how amazing this is. My mom was raised in a home that rarely had guests in it - I mean when my Mom and Dad first started dating my Dad wasn't allowed in their house, and it took a year for him to be allowed to come into the entryway of the home only. And here is my Mom, who gets the value of a welcoming home, learning to cook and host so that people can feel loved! I mean that's some initiative! 

I love the stories of how she learned to cook. I mean my mom had no idea how to cook - in college she lived on apples, peanut butter and crackers. When she moved out she started to learn to cook but when she got married she really tried to learn. Everything she made had a name - since she only knew how to cook recipes. For her cooking wasn't instinctual, it was learned and done with a lot of intention and effort. Over the years she really grew in her ability to cook - growing up we ate healthy, well rounded meals. 

She tackled this food problem like she tackled parenting and marriage. Lots of books, lots of questions, and a huge amount of effort and belief in the important of the outcome. I love this reminder from her life - with effort, the willingness to learn, the willingness to ask any, and everyone questions, and a belief in the outcome, you can accomplish most things. My mom's strategy made us giggle at times - if you asked a question, the next day she'd be home with a book on the topic so she'd know how to talk you through it. When we hit puberty, she went out and got Dr. Dobsons book "Preparing for Adolescents" and took us away for a weekend to work through the book and have a special time with us, while talking about that next season. While we teased her about it, her heart was always obvious. She wanted to get it right, she wanted us to have the best information possible, and she wanted to love us well. 

When I was in grade 4 they were doing sex talks in our class. My mom wanted me to hear it from her first. She took time out of her work day (also a teacher) to take me out for lunch at this time. We sat in a restaurant near the school, had a lunch (I felt so grown up) and we had the sex talk. Of course she'd talked to nurse friends, and read books before this conversation. She must have been so nervous! She talked me through it all though, including some drawings of penis' and cervix's on the napkins - I'm so curious what the waitstaff thought! 

When my Mom saw a need she acted. I remember countless times where she would hear of a need (big or small) and then she would come home and talk to us all about it, to see what could be done. In high school they were short on teachers for what would be our Sunday School class - so she figured out some curriculum and volunteered to teach our girls Sunday School class. When she'd hear about someone who didn't have enough money to feed their family, she'd send my Dad out to get them groceries. She believed in loving action. 

Last night we sat around to tell funny stories about her, to her. Paul pointed out, it felt a bit like a roast. My mom wasn't a naturally silly person, most of the times the funny stories were mostly at her expense since she could be quite ridiculous. But oh, she made us laugh...and as time went on she learned to laugh at herself too. An important lesson I'm learning much earlier, in thanks to my husband. 

Basically, this long rambly post comes down to the very important realization that my Mom was amazing. She wasn't a classic Mom, by any means. But she was my Mom. She was a fabulous Mom. She took what she was given in life and coupled with faith and knowledge gave us everything she could to give us the best chance in life. She loved us completely, in her own way. She loved those around her, in her own way. With her as my Mom, I feel set up well to love a daughter of my own; and I took her advice in yet another area and found my own good godly man to love and to build a family with (she approved of Paul heartily!). My mom didn't do things normally, but she did them well with intention and faith, and that's all any of us can hope for in our own lives.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas at the house on Chester Street

It's nearing Christmas - 15 days to go and our house has been Christmas ready for more than 2 weeks already! We love Christmas around here! Well I honestly thought it was just me that loved Christmas, and that Paul put up with it. But he keeps telling me how much he likes our house when it's decorated for Christmas - he remarks on it at least a couple times a week. He says it out loud because he knows how much I love hearing it, otherwise it would probably have remained in his head. Still though, it's something he loves too. Yay. And our students of course, they love it. That makes me very happy - plus they helped me decorate, while we listened to Christmas music and had apple cider. A perfect evening. So lets start at the front.

Our front entryway
The Christmas Tree's are leftover from a Starbucks Store holiday. They were discarded and a friend rescued them, then later gave them to me. I love them. 

I created this wreath in about 5 minutes! I hung a mini chalkboard (that I already had) from PYP ($8) inside a greenery wreath ($9) from Micheals. Then I strung some paper garland from Micheals ($1.50) and added a gold bow from Ikea (4 for $1.50). Easy and inexpensive!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, December 8th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
MondayChicken & Wild Rice Casserole
One of our students, Xiao, is heading back to China for two weeks. Last night was her last night at home for the next while, so our whole house hung out in the kitchen chatting for the evening after church. While we chatted I pulled together tonight's dinner - and in a super helpful move, Xiao spent the time pulling meat off the chicken for me to add to dinner. So helpful! 

I thought we had a meeting tonight so I made sure to have an easy dinner. Now that I've found out the meeting is actually next week I'm still super glad for an easy dinner. It's been a busy weekend. I look forward to eating quickly and easily so I can move on to other things I need to do, like finishing folding my laundry and sorting groceries. 

Tuesday: Tomato Basil Soup (Costco USA)

Tuesday I have Discipleship Group at 8pm, and really want to finish getting some groceries put away, as well as prepping rice for Wednesday's dinner. So an easy soup to heat up from Costco is a great answer. Warm and tasty (it's one of my favorites) it's a big hit in our house - especially when I serve it with garlic bread. 

Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki
Wednesday we had a doctors appointment at 4:30, and then a friend coming over for dinner and an evening with Paul, and I have a 7:30pm Women's Ministry meeting. This meal is easy and tasty - our house always loves it. It will be ready as soon as I get home, especially if I have the rice prepped the day before and only need to heat that up. 

Thursday: Costco Deli Flautas with Mexi Rice
Thursday I am seeing my sister, and since I want to be there by 6:45 easy dinner is important. I'll be using leftover rice from the night before to make Mexi Rice out of, and will heat up these tasty deli Flautas from Costco.

Friday night we have a friend's birthday party in the evening and I get to see two friends in the day as well. 

Saturday: YOYO
Saturday I hope to do some Christmas Baking (we'll see, resting might win) and then we have two parties in the evening - an engagement party and a birthday party. Thankfully they are a 5 minute drive a part so we can hit up both for a while!

Sunday: Crockpot Soup

Sunday is church - we have a few things to do in the day around the house, then church and will either have soup together as a house or will go out to eat with our students after church, since they like eating with our church friends. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Where wine & water meet: A girls weekend in Victoria

Last month I had the chance to have a getaway with some lovely ladies; some lovely sistah's to be exact. These are women I've served with at Anvil Island, women I've prayed with, women I've laughed copious amounts with, and women who have spoken life and truth to me in hard moments. This was our second year getting away together; we took a trip over to Victoria on Vancouver Island. We stayed at the World Mark by Wyndham along the edge of the harbour. We had stayed here previously and loved it, so getting to stay again was a real treat. The suites we rent there are generally well decorated, very comfortable and BEST OF ALL, come with their own HOT TUB right on the patio over looking the harbour. It's basically my dream come true. (It's a slightly cool hot tub, coming in at 101 degrees, and after checking with my doctor she said it's fine to be in, as long as I get out as soon as I overheat. This means a good 10-20 minute soak still happens and leaves me super super happy and my aching back feeling so much better. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, December 1st!

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Tilapia with roasted vegatables & pesto rice / Crockpot Potato-Cauliflower Soup
Tonight is women at prayer - our monthly time of prayer as women at our church. While I'm not keen to be out tonight (it's been so busy and I just want to stay home) I am keen to worship and pray with my sisters, so I am choosing in faith to go and engage and see where that takes us. God always shows up at these things, because He is with us. 

I also plan to throw some soup into the crockpot overnight so I can use it for lunches this week - with the chilly weather, warm lunches seem like the most loving option. And this creamy soup really tastes wonderfully despite the fact that I can pump it full of some veggies. 

Tuesday: Greek Chicken Wraps with Rice

Tuesday is LifeGroup. I've been craving this amazing greek sauce lately, so I'm excited to prepare it for our group again. I always serve it with greek salad. I think this time I'll find some gluten free pita for Lindsay and I so we can engage, as the pita really makes it. 

Wednesday: Ham with roasted vegetables & potatoes
Wednesday is an at home night for doing stuff and resting. I've got the ham for this marinating in the freezer from my last batch of ham, so I'll just need to chop veggies, chop & boil potatoes (to mash with boursin) and serve. I like dinners that I can get in the oven then walk away from while they cook (so I can change or do some house jobs). After dinner I plan to finish cleaning out my bedroom closet and organizing there - trying to get the room totally tidy and under control well before baby comes. 

Thursday: Crockpot Corn Chowder
Thursday night is sister night which always means a crockpot dish is most helpful. I usually try to prep these the night before so I'm not scrambling in the morning, which usually means I don't end up making the dish. So evening prep is a must! 

Friday is Paul's 30th birthday - we're having a birthday date that night. We'll go to the VIP theatre for the new Hunger Games movie so Paul can have a beer while he watched - I'll enjoy the appie items and popcorn. 

In the morning I'll be taking a trip to the states to get a bunch of stuff I need for the two big parties on the weekend, as well as stocking up for christmas - I'll pick up my turkey and ham on this trip so I don't have to come down again. 

Saturday: YOYO
Saturday we're having Paul's 30th birthday party. He's mandated that there be no decorations and limited food prep. I'm only picking up some easy things in the states for this - and we've asked some friends to bring items to share. We're providing beer & wine for the party; we bottled two great types of beer, a porter and a lager to share. I'll also be picking up something non-alcoholic for those of us that can't/don't indulge. I'm excited to celebrate with friends and family - Paul is a wonderful husband, I am so thankful for him. The party is a roast, so we'll get to hear funny stories and thoughts and hear him made fun of, as well as all the normal birthday kindness. It's going to be great. 

Sunday: Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Sunday is not a restful day, but it will be an fun one! We're celebrating our dear friend Ana as she prepared to have her baby boy. We're throwing her a Spanish Baby Shower with a Nacho Libre theme - we prepped decor stuff last week and oh man, it's looking amazing. Look out world - this party is going to be awesome. I can't wait to bless her and show her how very loved she is, and how cared for her little boy will be. After cleaning up from the party we'll head to church and I'm pretty sure we'll head straight to bed after all that. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Insecurity: a landmine of feelings

Sparkling water with raspberries, timeless pop rock hits in the kitchen, the smell of onions and garlic cooking away in the oven with chicken and's a girls weekend away in Victoria and I am feeling the restfulness. We're at a place that overlooks the Songhees in Victoria, BC, near Dallas Road and the Inner Harbour. Great friends, great conversations, lots of laughter and even more food.

It's amazing how insecurity can still pop up, even in the most ideal of settings. I often am amazed at the power that it has over us. At times you can see insecurity in a wave around the room - different reactions to it, of course, but still it engages us. Some get quiet for a moment, others lash out with a quick word, and still others talk louder and more confidently to beat it away. Even in these safe places, it plagues us, especially as women.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Austin the Trip, Part 2

Thank you all for your amazing and kind words of support and excitement yesterday; it has all meant so much! We are so excited! Now to pick up from where I left off the other day, the final section of our Austin trip!

Sunday we were up and off to Hamilton Pool.This is a sight I have wanted to see for ages now - it's less than a 10 minute "trek" down to the "pool" and it's definitely worth the parking fee ($15) and the walk. It's geographically really interesting, and just plain beautiful. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Austin the Trip, Part 1

So Austin, Texas. A couple weeks ago we were away in Austin visiting Paul's mom and it was a great trip. We started out on the Thursday by leaving work early and driving down to Renton to spend the night with Rebekah and Tony, which was LOVELY. They cooked us a great dinner and made a nice place for us to sleep. They drove us to Sea-Tac bright and early! That's true friendship. 

On the trip to Austin we had two flights, Seattle to San Fransisco, then San Fran to Austin. The first flight was short and easy, I read a book and a People magazine mostly. The second flight I was sitting in front of a very very unpleasant woman. Everyone around me was allowed to recline their seats but not me - when I tried (as I'm pregnant and have a bad back, upright seats aren't made for being comfortable) she shouted at me, and kicked the seat while shouting until I pulled it back up. So unpleasant. Being pregnant makes me way more emotional and I definitely cried. I tried not to, but there you go, I had no ability to pull it together. Paul was furious with how she was treating me and kept offering to switch seats but he's a big guy and the aisle seat is very much suited to him, sitting in my little middle seat was something I was willing to let him do for me. Why should we both be uncomfortable? Because actually he chose not to recline his seat since there was a baby behind him and he wanted to give the mom space. Anyways, the lady behind Paul (with the baby boy, Jake) was super pleasant and her baby was so great on the flight. We caught up with her at baggage claim and Paul pulled her bags off for her. Paul was so great to me on the flight - even though he was so angry with the woman behind me (who was rude to numerous other people while we were near her) he knew it would make me feel worse if he called her out, and so instead he spent his efforts making sure I felt loved and happy. We played games and chatted and I felt very supported! All in all the flights were smooth - we had great timing and I never felt bored.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, November 24th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
MondaySlow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taco's
Monday night we have a Deacon's Meeting at 7:30pm, so a quick and easy dinner is super important. I have ripe avocados just BEGGING to be made into guacamole, so that'll be a nice treat. 

Tuesday: Crockpot Pot Roast

Tuesday is a church wide meeting called Equippers at 7:30pm. I love having a chance to gather as a church so that will be really great. I'm making a Pot Roast in the crockpot - but not a regular roast - a deer Roast! I'm curious how this will go, it will definitely be a first for me. I think I'll be making mashed potatoes in my other crockpot as well and will just need to cook up veggies when I get home. 

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Toquitos
Wednesday night is actually a free night - meaning a time to work around the house. I'll try to tackle at least one item on my list at the bottom of this post, after dinner. 

Thursday: Creamy Crockpot Chicken & Broccoli
Thursday is my favorite vendor function of the year at work - Sutton Place Gingerbread Making Luncheon. This marks the start of my Christmas Holidays every year. Then after work it's my sister night, so I'll get to spend some time with my nephews and sister. Then I'll probably try to hit up one task from this list. 

Friday: Crockpot Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Friday is Black Friday - I can't decide if I feel like hitting up the mall or not. I don't have a ton to buy, but I do have a few Christmas items I need to pick up. I'm not sure if it's worth venturing to Metrotown on a crazy day or not...I'm leaning towards staying home and tackling things around the house (from the list at the bottom of the page). Friday evening is our friend's birthday after dinner. 

Saturday: YOYO
Saturday morning we have a decorating time for my lovely friend Ana's baby shower, then I hope to tackle one thing on the list and then NAP, before heading out to a girls night since the men will be away at a Men's retreat for Saturday and Sunday. 

Sunday: Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup

Sunday I will spend some time with my mom in the morning since my Dad is away at the Men's retreat, then will nap before church, get dinner in the Slow Cooker & hopefully get another item from the list complete. We'll see!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Austin the Trip, thoughts on wheat-free travelling

I have a couple blog posts about our trip to Austin coming up, it was pretty fabulous. But returning to normal life has been hectic so they've had to wait. Taking a trip 2 days later to the Island didn't help that either, but oh was it nice.

Healthy eating while travelling is certainly something to think about; probably could have used a lot more thought about it before going. As someone who doesn't eat wheat or rice (90% of the time) it's hard to know what will be available that isn't a sandwich or bagel, but also isn't continual salads (which can be pretty lame at airports). While my wheat-free/rice-free lifestyle is voluntary (I'm thankfully not celiac or anything like that) the choice is not without reason, and not purely for helping lose weight. The biggest reason I have made this choice is that I feel better in almost every way when I avoid these types of food. The moment I eat wheat or rice my eyes start to sag, they get sleepier and sleepier. My belly feels fuller than full and I feel sluggish. While travelling feeling these ways is less than ideal, especially over a longer stretch. I'd like an alert mind as I navigate airports and such. I can speak from experience as I forgot my lunch at home today and felt a huge craving for a subway sandwich, something I haven't had in over 8 months, actually since long before I cut out wheat. Having made the choice to indulge I can say that I don't regret eating it - the taste and flavour, texture, etc is so rewarding. BUT my eyes are now dropping, my stomach feels full to bursting and I feel so sluggish and tired, not a great way to set myself up for an afternoon of work. Generally, for me the alertness is worth the sacrifice (outside of the occasional craving, like this one), and the extra effort. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Menu Plan, November 19th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
MondayPotato Skins, half pulled pork, half shredded chicken. 
Monday night was an at home evening - I swung by IGA and Costco on my way home, and while at home I prepped potatoes for the following night, shredded chicken, put broth on to cook and did a bunch of other kitchen stuff, as well as put all the groceries away and make lunches. Busy but needed! We had a guest in town from Calgary so she helped me with my work, and it was lovely to spend time with her! I love spontaneous guests, especially from our sister EN church. 

Tuesday: Ham, roasted golden beets & sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes & side salad. 

Tuesday was lifegroup - I threw a ham into the oven (always easy), roasted some golden beets & sweet potatoes, heated up mashed potatoes, baked some other potatoes & pulled together a side salad. It was most tasty. Lifegroup itself was lovely - we were in small groups and it was such a sweet time. People stayed around chatting a while, and I prepped the next days lunches and dinner. 

Wednesday: Spaghetti, and a side salad. 
Today I am very tired, I need me some sleep! Thankfully dinner is partially prepped, so I can rest between dinner (after making lunches) and a meeting at our house at 7:30. At 7:30 we have our womens ministry meeting, which will be done by 9 and, I write this on the internet for all to see, I intent to go to bed then. Right then. 

Thursday: YOYO
Thursday we are out at John & Lindsay's place for dinner - it will be lovely. Thursday is my Friday so I will be feeling footloose and fancy free. We'll chat and play board games and it will be lovely. 

Friday: Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Friday we have friends coming over in the evening after dinner, and I have different productive things to do throughout the day. 

Saturday: YOYO
Saturday we have lunch plans in Langley with our friends Josh & Shannon, then we head to Surrey for a family dinner. 

Sunday: Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

Sunday we HAVE NOTHING TO DO. I am going to sleep in. Hear that body, let me sleep! I will lounge. I will rest. It will be glorious. I need it, quite badly at this point. Also after church in the evening I will decorate for Christmas with our two students Sam & Xiao, pumped!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Of Robin Mitchell, 60!

Posted December 2013 (blogger has hijacked it and reposted it November 2014 for unknown reasons)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday, November 10th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Final Austin Day! Taco Deli, Maternity Shopping, State Capitol Building Tour and Rudy's BBQ!
Visiting the "Mean Eyed Cat" in Austin

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Travel Excitement!

And with that (that being a super busy week at work and at home) it is 1:45 and at 2:45 I will be leaving the office to skytrain to Paul, so we can leave in our car at 3pm on route to America! We'll be staying with our wonderful friends the Rivisto's overnight and then they will drive us bright and early to the airport for our 7:15am flight towards Austin, TX! I'm so excited. 

Austin is awesome. I have only been there once but I loved it. So much great food! Warmer weather! We're going to have Mexican, Chuy's & BBQ. We'll go to Hobby Lobby! On top of that excitement we're going to be seeing some of our School of Ministry friends from summer 2012, which is a treat! Not only are those things exciting, but to top it off we get to spend the weekend with Paul's Mom (Nancy) and her husband, Cris. We get to see their new place and enjoy time with them. I'm really looking forward to it. Nancy and I are going maternity clothes shopping (I've been putting off buying anything until this trip with her - it seems like something that is more fun done together, than alone). It's perfect timing really as my belly has finally started to pop - I had my first "are you pregnant" question since being pregnant. It took me a moment to realize I didn't need to be offended, that in fact I was pregnant. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I don't know what I'd do without you

I don't know what I'd do without you: An ode to my iPad mini

I LOVE my iPad. This has not always been how I have felt about the iPad. I recall a time when the iPad was first announced, a time where I scorned it's very existence. See, to me, this invention seemed repetitive. You already have a laptop and a phone - why would you need something in between them? Our friends Nick and Laura bought one the same day we were playing board games with them and as I watched Nick play with his, it still confused me. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mounted Menagerie in Gold

Last year I made something beautiful. Then I put it on my wall and meant to blog about it and totally forgot. Then part of it fell apart in the summer sun and I was glad I'd forgotten to blog about it. Then I found a better solution, fixed the issues and rehung the item and was reminded to blog about it. This is that story. 

I love gold. I love things that are random and look pretty but can also make you laugh (like my sister, she's beautiful but also is hilarious). I love to have a house with fun and random things. You can see the upstairs of our house here to get a feel for our style. Exciting; you can even see this project on the wall! When I first saw a similar project over at Harper's Happenings  I was smitten. It looked easy and fun. I bought all the items needed then didn't do anything for about 4 months. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Flights: A journey of fanciness

Oh my gosh. I can't wait. Next Friday we're flying to Austin, TX with Paul. This is our first flight together since our honeymoon (in 2010), and before that I hadn't flown since summer 2008. I happen to LOVE flying. Yes, there are annoying parts but that's true with everything and I just love it. 

I'm excited about going to see Paul's mom too but let's focus on the flights and the travel. Usually we are drivers. We drove to Texas last visit and all of our little trips are by car. So I am excited about the flights. Let me tell you about it. 

It starts with the organizing. Researching flights, then finding the right ones for a good price then paying. Then comes all the little details, where to park, when to leave. Then I start reading blog posts on travel and packing and oh, it's fun. These posts were particularly helpful: How to Pack for 10 days in 1 Carry-on and The Travelling Blogger.

Then the packing - picking clothing is much trickier when flying. I can't just bring a giant bag with every single thing in it. I'm forced to think about what to bring and then work through that. This is helpful for a chronic over packer like me. It makes me pick outfits rather than clothes. It lets me sift through outfits and pick favorites. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blogging: the surprise

I started blogging when I was 16. I love it. I never thought I would still be blogging at 31, or that this thing I picked up as a lark would turn into such a constant and rewarding part of my life. I had no idea what the blogging world would turn into - it's so flashy and pretty. Back when I started it was almost like a form of chat rooms. It was also a lot more private, in a way. I mean only a couple friends read it and no one else. I also just babbled. Word vomit. All over the page. I especially love that one quote, it's true that I was blogging before it was cool - but more specifically I was doing it in the least cool way possible. That makes me giggle.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Quick Takes (Volume 13)

--- 1 --- 
Nashville, Grey's Anatomy....I'm sometimes so impressed with the ability of a show to sweep me a way and keep me hooked week after week. Man. I mean I've been watching Grey's Anatomy since I was 23 - I started watching it while recovering from surgery and have been hooked every since. I love it. I didn't like it the fist couple years it was on, but once I actually gave it a chance I fell in love. It's the first show I watch when I have time to catch up. 

Nashville can come in spurts for me - but when I repicked it up and watched Season 2 on Netflix I was rehooked and am continuing to love it. I don't love all the drama, but the characters are so engaging and it's a world that so foreign to mine. 

Oh and Jeff Fordham is a despicable human being. I am amazed. He is horrible. I really really hate watching him on this show. 

--- 2 --- 
Books, Books, Books: Oh books, I love you. Books are the stability that TV can lack - there is always something to read in a book - there isn't always a new episode to watch on PVR. But books don't disappoint. 

Lately I've r-read two books that I love. Maeve Binchy's "Glass Lake" and LM Montgomery "Blue Castle." Through both re-readings I laughed, I cried....both books were like visiting with old friends.  I sometimes forget the power of a comfortable book - like a warm sweater and cup of tea, or a kind friend on a rainy day. 

--- 3 --- 
Today I got to have a lovely combination of warm sweater, cup of tea, rainy day and good friend. Emily and baby Madeline came to visit today for tea and company and it was absolutely lovely. It doesn't matter how much time is in between visits, they are always so natural and enjoyable. I'm so thankful for a friend like Ems - she's been my friend since I was 23, just like Grey's Anatomy, and I love being her friend! Plus Madeline is very sweet - she is a great little baby and wonderful to hold while chatting. 

--- 4 --- 
Lasagna: it's easy. I love to follow Kate's Lasagna recipe, though I usually add a bunch of veggies to the sauce. Today I will be making a few big batches of this Lasagna - one big one for my house, one big one for a family member and their family, one small one with Zucchini layers instead noodle (for me). I am excited to put it together - it's just as easy to make a bunch as it is to make one. So I often make up a few batches, sometimes freeze an extra. I'm very excited to try this tonight!

--- 5 --- 
iPhone 6 - shipped! Actually arrived! I'm trying to set it up now and am really enjoying how it looks! Can't wait to figure it out more!!!! 

And that's where I end! Am on to more iphone fixing! 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crossing over

In November I will be going to the States 4 different times - ridiculous. We have a 90th birthday to go to for one of Paul's family members, then a trip to Texas (flights in and out of Seattle), Black Friday Shopping with some lovely ladies and a trip with a girlfriend for the day to prep for a baby shower. Because of this ridiculous amount of USA trips I thought it would be a good plan to spend a couple months before that using up our food stock that we already have - making sure we're actually eating everything we have on hand. So we went one final time in August and then entered operation "eat through the freezer and pantry." It's been going well. This doesn't change my grocery budget, we're eating through the stockpile of non-perishables but I still need to purchase the produce and such. We are doing well at going through the meats and canned goods - but we keep running out of milk and eggs and cheese, sadly. 

As September marched on I was thankful that Paul's mom was around and taking a day trip to Bellingham, so she was able to get us stocked back up again for milk and eggs and cheese. Then we ended up in Point Roberts for gas and milk and eggs last week - another helpful time. And yesterday I got a text from Paul's sister asking to pop over to get something she needed - well that worked perfectly as we were super low on cheese again, and our canned corn and diced tomatoes - those are all non-negotiables. Also our current housemates go through TONS of milk and eggs, so those were getting low already. With two more weeks until trip number 1, this was a helpful little trip!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Menu Plan & Life Thoughts

12 days ago I came online and blogged about how I was going to write more. Ha! And radio silence ever since. Oh Tara. Such good intentions. But I have been resting, and working really hard at work, and enjoying thanksgiving, and working on projects, and spending time with my sweet love. So I consider the last two weeks a win anyways. 

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Joining up with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between

So I've been thinking lately that I wanted to blog more. Except sometimes it's so hard to motivate myself. I think sometimes people see the constant go go go in my life and assume this is never a problem for me - but it is a constant daily problem. When I saw The Daily Tay say that she would be doing BLOGTOBER I thought, perfect. Except that now it's the 2nd and I didn't manage to blog yesterday. So yeah, there's that. 

I don't have any real goal for the blogging aside from blogging more than I am now. With pregnancy, a full time job, ministry involvement (here's looking at you womens ministry and lifegroup!) and feeding a house with 4 students living with us all being part of daily life it seems unwise to make a set goal that I'll only disappoint myself with. A goal of "more" works for me. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

So you're pregnant, what now?

Wow...I like actually can't get over the amazing support and crazy congratulations from our network on the internet - facebook, blog, etc. It's insane. We definitely continue to feel loved and supported on this whole journey. I mean...people were so so so excited and now they still are! I mean I know I'm it's pretty amazing to see how excited the people are around us. I swear, half of my pregnancy glow would be just from the joy of those around us!

So! You're pregnant, and you're allowed to talk about it. What now?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Summa Camp

I went to camp for the first time at 2 years old. We were at Family Camp. I went every single summer (except one) until I was 19. Later I started going to sleep away camp alone when I was 8. I went every single summer up to, and including, the summer I was 13. The summer I was 14 we drove across Canada - no camp for us but plenty of adventures regardless.

At 15 I started volunteering at day camp programs in the area and at 16 I went away to be a counsellor then work crew for the first time. Starting the summer I was 17 I went away to work at camp for two summer and loved it. The summers I was 19 and 20 I volunteered for a week or two. Finally when I was 23 and newly a christian, I went back to camp. I loved it but wasn't able to make it back until 3 years later at 26 where Paul and I got engaged during camp. Last summer I finally made it back to camp again (at 30) and this year I continued that streak again (31). Thus continues a lifelong love affair with camp.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Of Books: My first love

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Death or the Wood between the worlds

Lately I've been reading to my mom - it's a new way of interacting with her. It has been really enjoyable for both of us. It only seemed fitting to start off by reading the Chronicles of Narnia to her - as she first read it to me years ago. 

We've started with "Magicians Nephew" and I'd forgotten how much fun this story is. How beautiful as well. The story centers around a young boy (the Magicians Nephew) and his friend, Polly, as they end up discovering a new world - or really they discover a place between worlds that gives them access to other worlds. This place between worlds is a forest, and called "The Wood between the Worlds." The description of this place is hauntingly beautiful and stuck out to me for a few reason. 
The next thing Digory knew was that there was a soft green light coming down on him from above, and darkness below.  He didn't seem to be standing on anything, or sitting or lying.  Nothing appeared to be touching him.  "I believe I'm in water," said Digory.  "Or under water."  This frightened him for a second, but almost at once he could feel that he was rushing upwards.  Then his head suddenly came out into the air and he found himself scrambling ashore, out on to the smooth grassy ground at the edge of the pool.
As he rose to his feet he noticed that he was neither dripping nor panting for breath as anyone would expect after being under water.  His clothes were perfectly dry.  He was standing by the edge of a small pool - not more than ten feet from side to side - in a wood.  The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky.  All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm.  It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine.  There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind.  You could almost feel the trees growing.  The pool he had just got out of was not the only pool.  There were dozens of others - a pool every few yards as far as his eyes could reach.  You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots.  This wood was very much alive.  When he tried to describe it afterwards Digory always said: "It was a rich place: as rich as plumcake."
C.S. Lewis – The Magicians Nephew

I've struggled with the concept of death, especially as my mothers journey leads her closer and closer there. It's so unknown! I trust that when God says Heaven is a place we want to be and that we get to be with Him for eternity that it is true, but it's so foreign and so unknown. It scares me to think of her going there. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Connor's Lego Party

My wonderful nephew Connor turned 6 in August and my sister and I wanted to throw him an awesome party. He loves Lego and loved the Lego movie! It was a natural fit. We wanted to make sure we didn't go to overboard - he's only 6 and while he'll like having a decorated party he didn't need us to go crazy in the progress! The idea was to go for bright colors with a focus on yellow and red. I picked up streamers & bunting, lanterns and puffs. We picked up a Parrot Pinata (nothing lego themed so we went for bright and cheery instead) and some easy party favours (a sticker book and slinky).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 reasons I buy online

Recently I read a fun article entitled “5 Reasons I Don't Buy Online.” Sarah at Tucker Up made some great points and I definitely agree with some of them. However I do buy clothes online and I do so for a few very good reasons. I thought it would be fun to make my top “5 reasons I buy online”

1. Shopping in a mall for me is like searching for a needle in a haystack – I have to go from store to store and try so many things on! Even at Old Navy (where I primarily purchase everything) it’s still overwhelming, I’m bombarded with everything I see. Online I have to search for what I want and thus don’t get as distracted by all the extras or options.

Online I can easily see all the rockstar jeans they have listed – in person I need to wander the store looking through different sections to make sure I didn’t miss some jeans somewhere. I buy less when I’m searching for an item online, than when I’m searching in person.

2. I love a deal. In person though I don’t always wait for the best deal since I’m there now and it feels weird to wait and return back. But online it’s easy! I just bookmark or save the item, and the second I get an email alert for the next sale, bam, I can buy it at a reasonable price. I haven’t paid full price for anything at Old Navy in ages! Online options for shopping often come with deals that are only online as well!

3. Returning items is almost addicting for me – it’s so easy! I can try things and there isn’t a huge pressure to keep them if they don’t fit. In fact when I’m at a store I feel bad for the employees who have to return all my items so I feel tempted to buy something to make up for the time I spent there. Not true online! I easily send it back if it doesn’t work perfectly. The return is money free and guilt free!

4. Shopping at a mall eats away at my valuable personal time! I have stuff to do, people!  The times I wait to shop in person to replace those jeans with a hole in the crotch mean weeks of wearing jeans with a hole in the crotch. When shopping online I buy it right away and it’s delivered to my door within two weeks, often faster than I’d be able to get to a mall myself!

On top of that, it’s a great use of the time I already have to set aside for sitting at a computer! My life in the evenings and weekends is hectic – I rarely have time to make it to a mall, let alone go any time I need something. I am forced to sit a computer all day and am supposed to take breaks (as mandated by labour laws) so online shopping is a relaxing and enjoyable use of that time.

5. Shopping online saves me money. It helps me shop for my needs and not my wants. When I look online I’m not as tempted by everything. In person I want all the things, but online it seems a bit more distant. I’m more suspicious of if I’ll wear something. I’m much more concious of the cost online – the bill tallies right there! At the mall I can’t see the total until I am already at the till about to pay. When I purchase online I find I’m often removing items from my shopping cart when the bill gets too high. Online I feel more responsible while still getting the thrill of new clothes! 

Plus when I shop at Old Navy online it’s a very different experience than shopping in person – in person when I’m done at one store, I’ll walk past at least 5 more stores on my way back to the car that all call out to me to shop…not to mention the food court and starbucks!
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