Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas: The American part

As I mentioned before we had a big drive down from Vancouver, BC to Eugene, OR in Paul’s Dad’s truck. It was me, Paul and Katie’s boyfriend Joel. Katie was already down in Oregon. 

We left bright and early. We picked Joel up at 6:30am and then headed for the border. Thank goodness we were early. We arrived at 7:10 and didn’t cross over until 8am. Apparently the lines only got longer as the day progressed. Aside from that delay though, we made great time. We stopped only for food (McDonald’s for breakfast…mmm and Taco Bell for lunch – crunchwrap supreme!), diesel and bathroom breaks. We made it to Eugene by 3:30. We were excited to see the family. For Paul and I it was fun to have seen them so recently in August, it’s a good year for visiting!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas: The actual event

We started off the Christmas Vacation time with Church for our Christmas Service – I was the host and our lifegroup was on for coffee so I’d grabbed EggNog and Christmas treats to help make it feel festive downstairs. The service was full of carol’s, skits and lost of celebration - It was great to celebrate with church family before the holidays.

Lyndsay and Jodi sang a beautiful piece

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas: The move

Christmas has been as expected; lovely and family filled.

But I should back up to the move. As I write this we are driving through Seattle in a big giant truck (Paul’s Dad’s truck) and Paul and Joel are whistling along to the radio.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

There is so much to tell you! We have fully moved into the new house and are now in the process of settling in. There is so much to do, but oh we did so much. We're now out in Surrey with family until Christmas morning (we came evening of the 23rd) and then we'll head into Vancouver for Christmas Day with my family - hang out at the Maxwell's and then dinner at the Mitchell's with the whole crew. On the 26th at 6am we head down to Oregon. So I have much to tell you about my move and our Christmas but it will have to wait - Christmas relaxation, Rum & Eggnog and family are calling. 

Friday, December 21, 2012


I am exhausted.
Last night was my work Christmas party (photos to come), then today I worked until 1:30 and then came home to join Paul who was with the movers unloading our furniture into the new house. After the movers left we headed back to our old house to keep packing boxes of random crap. Now all the crap is boxed up and ready to be moved tomorrow...but man it was a long evening. We finally stopped at 8:30 and headed over to Pho Hong for dinner. After that we came back to our new house, unloaded the car, made the bed, borrowed wifi from my phone and now here I am. Sooo ready for bed.

And in fact that's where I'll go now.

Oh wait....I may be exhausted and heading to bed but we're in! We now officially live here and that's awesome.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It continues

Wednesday night was the last evening I was going to spend in our house (with furniture). Tonight we will be out at my work dinner and the next day the furniture gets moved. So I needed to make sure all the things that were in furniture were moved – basically the furniture needed to be emptied so it could be moved. Friday night I will pack anything not packed yet that is in cupboards and shelving that won’t be moving. Since our Fridge and Freezer are also moving with us, I had to empty those as well. We did the big switch over to our new house. That fridge is now stuffed full and our fridge and freezer are now both very empty. Minus a turkey that Paul forgot to take to the new house.

So we packed up food – frozen food, cold food and food from the pantry and carted it all over to the new house. It makes it feel more like home, even though the house is still empty aside from the student room. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tis the Season

In the midst of the upcoming move there is a lot to celebrate. Not only is it LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS, but also Monday was my Mom's birthday. Monday night we celebrated at the Maxwell's. We had dinner with our immediate family and then afterwards the Wiebe's came by to have dessert. It was a wonderful evening; it felt like old times with the family. And it was great to get to spend time with Austie and Connor, as well as have LeAnna there with Walter. 
Austie and I

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on this weekend

My first thoughts as I sit to write center around the tragic shooting on Friday. I have chosen not to watch the news; it is too devastating. I have read some of the details online, to be informed, to know how to pray, but aside from that I can't engage my mind with this tragedy. It is horrific. I am thankful for writers who can capture something real or hopeful out of this time. 

1. Newtown as I know it - Steadymom
2. What tragedy does - Top of the page
3. And yet I write - Royal Daughter Designs
4. Silence + Support - Living in Yellow

Also I struggle with my own humanity. In the midst of tragedy, life goes on. This is especially true with tragedy so far from us. In the midst of a joyous move I am tired and weary today. After a mis-communication with Paul, some of my expectations have been dashed and I struggle with that. Each day I am in relationship with people - for good and for bad. Sometimes that's the best news in the world, and sometimes it is exhausting and painful. Relationships are wonderful and hard. I get to enjoy wonderful, deep, real friendships. I have also been hurt, deeply. I struggle with the tension of engaging in relationship knowing the outcome could go either way, every time. I read this blog post this week and it helped - it spoke of "grace upon grace". It reminded me of Christ's work on the cross, and the grace and love and relationship He extends to me, even though He knows I'll disappoint. I am thankful for grace, undeserved grace. 

In my sinfulness, in my flesh, in my frailness, I am thankful for a God who is bigger than all of that. 

I am so excited about our move...though tiredness wants to steal the excitement. I mean, my week feels a bit overwhelming –

Monday: Work, then family  dinner for my mom’s birthday – I’m making Spaghetti Squash, ham and dessert, Jenna is making the rest.
Tuesday: Work, then LG Christmas party – I’m making appies, appies and more appies.
Wednesday: Work, then I’m packing our kitchen and pantry entirely.
Thursday: Work, then Brookfield Christmas Party
Friday: Work (Paul moves our furniture), come home to new house! Head to old house to pack all remaining things that are out and to start the cleaning process.
Saturday: Head to old house, clean. Friends help move from 11-1, party with drinks and food from 1-2. Organize in new house for rest of day. 
Sunday: work around house, run coffee at church, host at church...then head to Surrey to stay with David & Carol. *and so begins, vacation*

But despite the upcoming crazy, starting early has paid off. We are farther ahead than expected!

Shelves are mostly empty, except for what is needed for cooking.

Books are cleared away.
And in most rooms the shelves are wiped down clean.

This weekend we got the keys to the house.

We were ecstatic! We arrived with Timmies (always a good start to the day), signed the papers, gathered the keys, handed over 6 months of post dated cheques for rent and voila, the house was ours. And boy, we felt so much joy pulling into the garage for the first time. We are now officially grownups. It was awesome. 

First order of business was to go collect a  moving van from U-Haul to rent for 5 hours so we could pick up furniture - we picked up 3 pieces of free furniture (one wardrobe, 2 couches) and 2 pieces of paid furniture ($100 for two tall wardrobes), as well as all the furniture from our student room at home and brought it all to the new house. We set up a student room in the small brown room. We'd originally planned to paint but then realized the room actually felt quite cozy, so we thought we would try to make it work without paint. 

Here it is: before and after.

I still need to find something to hang above the bed, and I need a short mirror for above the dresser. The one we had broke as Paul brought it in. For above the bed I'm thinking some sort of framed button art, but I'm not positive yet. It's a big plain though, and I feel like it needs something. I love it though, aside from that. It's warm and it's so cozy in person. 

I now submit for you, the picture that will make Irene Chibota jealous. We have both moved this month and we were bonding over the UGLY master bedroom ensuites that we both had. Both had toilets with crazy colors  We both liked having a bathroom there but did not like how it looked. Saturday when we arrived and did our inspection we discovered that they changed the flooring, put in a new toilet and painted the cupboards. It's so much better. 

My sister Jenna and her kids came over for the afternoon on Saturday, and Katie (Paul's sister) ended up coming along as well! It was great. They boys ran around like crazy while Jenna, Katie and I chatted. Paul was out with Joel (Katie's boyfriend) picking up the free furniture. It was nice to get to hang out in our space!

Then we headed home to get ready for our friend Nate's birthday party. Nate and Leah are awesome and they throw the best parties. For real. The best. And after a week of packing, a day of moving, and an upcoming week of moving more, going to a fun, easy party was a great choice. 

This is me and the lovely Leah

And here I am with my new friend Lindsay. See I told you she was real!

Though we both seem confused on where to look at the camera

It was a great party. I got to talk to lots of friends, new and old. The food was awesome, as per usual. Everyone loves a Lim party. That's the sort of reputation I want as a hostess.

Sunday morning we slept in until 10 (we needed it!) then I made Peppermint Bark for church, and headed off to pick up my cousin LeAnna and her sweet baby Walter, as well as Auntie Sandy, to show them our new house. We walked around and chatted and it was so great to get to share it with them. 

Then I headed off on errands, I needed to buy the bedding for the student room (the white bedding in the photo above) and get some other things from Ikea. I grabbed a hot dog as I left the store and stopped at Oakridge to make keys for our new house. Picked up Paul and headed to church! Phew. 

Church felt like a party. It was our church's Christmas Celebration. We had a short service at church and then were heading to the Mitchell's for dinner and a garage dance. The service was awesome. The worship was fun; the kids were wonderful in their play. Jonathan, Sam and some youth did a hilarious parody song, "Court me now" explaining biblical courtship, followed by 4 ladies singing a beautiful rendition of "Holy Night". It was a perfect service. 

And I so wish that the top picture of the parody song was a video, because you are missing out by not getting to watch it. 

Then we headed over to the Mitchell's for dinner and dancing. The house was warm and cozy and bursting with Christmas. It was full of great people and great conversation. The garage was bursting with lights, music and dancing. It was a great celebration. 

At 9 we left to stop by superstore and pick up some groceries, then I headed home to bake Spaghetti Squash for the next night's dinner, while Paul headed out to watch LOTR with friends, late at night. It was his "I'm done with school for 2 weeks" celebration. I'm happy he got to do that and I'm happy that I did not have to go spend hours watching a movie when I was sleepy. Win-win.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Of Tea's, Carolling and Bubbles

Oh man. I cannot believe it is already December 14th. Since about February of last year I have been dreaming of moving, and dreaming of what our new home may be like. And now we get the keys tomorrow! This means lots of packing, cleaning and organizing. Our goal is to move on a budget, that includes being able to thank helpers with great food on a budget.

On top of that we're full into the Holiday Season - my mom's birthday is coming up on Monday and we threw her a ladies tea this past week (more on that below). There are also many dinners and events to go to for Christmas, as well as all the Christmas Festivities with family and an upcoming trip to Oregon to see family just after Christmas. 

And further onto the top of THAT is regular life - church, lifegroup, family, friends, etc. No matter how busy life is I am unable to stop from seeing people - it brings me joy. Life may be busy but my friends are awesome. On top of that, when things are the busiest and the craziest, hanging out with my sweet nephews also brightens my day. Nope, I can't avoid the "regulars" in life no matter how busy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bread filled with awesome

I tried some Pinterest Breads recently. More specifically, breads stuffed with food. I made them for LG. They were a decent success though I have some tweaks if I were to try again, and some notes for Canadians trying to follow these recipe's. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Catching Up

Despite the mad pace that life has been going at, it has also been a fun and enjoyable time. 

I mentioned in a post recently that we were going out to the Corporate Traveller event. It was a lot of fun! It was a really neat venue (Vancouver Urban Winery outside of gastown) and great service (Cocktails & Canapes). Not only was was the Corporate Traveller team a lot of fun, but the service staff from C&C were delightful. I talked to a few of the girls that worked there and enjoyed it so much. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Of Pinterest attempts

Life seems to constantly be filled with Pinterest ideas. 
Ideas for moving, ideas for cooking, ideas for clothing, ideas, ideas, ideas. 
And I'm loving it. 

I don't have that many original ideas but I'm awesome at copying other people's ideas. So this is perfect. Now I can copy them from people I don't know, instead of people that I do know. 

I have discovered the Crock Pot. Specifically a Crock Pot with timer.

Last week I attempted Tomato Soup. It was awesome to come home to cooked food! Just blend and serve. It was decent. 

But on Monday I made something worth writing home about. I mean. It was good. So good. 

I found these taco's on a blog I read, and I pinned it for later use. 

And then I made it. And man. It was good!
The only thing I did differently than the recipe suggested was due to the fact that I didn't have Santa Fe Cream Cheese Cooking Cream. So I used Cream Cheese blocks and taco seasoning. Worked perfectly. 

You should make these. 

Speaking of making (nice segway, right?), I made some cool cups this week. I'd seen these cups on Pinterest ages ago and pinned them. I knew I'd never buy them since they were expensive but I thought I could maybe recreate them. 

Then I saw a tutorial and I was sold! I needed a gift idea for Christmas and found some white mugs with a bunch of super fun christmas drinks in them. So I bought the packages prepared to decorate the mugs. 


And after!

I love them. 

Now I know they aren't as cute as the gold mugs I'd first pinned, and I'm thinking I'll need to invest in some Acrylic/Ceramic paint to replicate them properly, but for a quick and easy first try, I'm pleased. 

Pinterest also tells me how to dress. And one thing it kept suggesting I do is to add more Leopard print. It didn't have to tell me twice, I love animal print. 

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

But I kept seeing it on the internets as a scarf or belt or flats. I only have animal print as shirts - one t shirt from Zellers and one tank top from superstore (actually a pajama top but no one has ever noticed!) I decided though that it was time to pull my animal print out again...and then I saw something @ Pinterest Made Me Do It that fit the bill. 

And after all that I ended up wearing my other animal print top on Sunday in a very similar outfit. I was loving the prints!

Speaking of outfits, Tuesday at lifegroup Jodi and I were kind of like twins.

After looking at the picture above I was feeling sad about how casual my Chambray shirt was, and wishing it had a bit more starch and flare to it. Then (in my daily blog reading) I came across this post by Cori @ La vie petite. 

I realized the Chambray shirt at Old Navy that she was talking about what one I already owned in grey and loved. And when I went to Old they were having a sale, so I printed out a coupon and headed over after work to pick up the shirt. I love it. 

While I was at the store I saw this and remembered that not only was polka dot chambray on trend currently, but also many of my favorite fashion bloggers were sporting it. 

Here is how I wore my new Polka Dot Chambray shirt. 
And I love it. 

And there you have it...a glimpse into the world of someone with no imagination of their own

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Of Gingerbread and special dates

This weekend rocked. Straight up. 

First my weekend started nice and early. Friday I had to work for a few hours and then I was headed off for a Gingerbread Luncheon at the Sutton Place Hotel. They are one of the vendors we use for travel and they woo their corporate customers each year with a big lunch, open bar and gingerbread house making. It is one of my favorite new events of the season. 

I headed over at 11:30, put on a plastic apron (classy) and joined a team to get started. I joined a team with representatives from HeliJet and Pacific Destinations. They were a lot of fun. We made a great team and got to enjoy some fun conversation. Here is our gingerbread house!

Some of the other teams were UBER prepared. I mean, baking for a week before hand, prepared. So we were obviously not going to win - since there was a Woodwards Building, an Eco friendly cabin (complete with water wheel and solar panels), an UP house and a replica of the Sutton Place Hotel. 

But we had fun; Look here we are with our gingerbread house!

After the creativity it was our turn to sit back and be spoiled....lunch was amazing. Plus I got to have a wonderful conversation with one of the ladies there and it made my day.

Then it was back to work for an hour, and then off to my hairdressers to get ready for my 4 year anniversary with Paul. 

I had a great chat with my hair dresser who I feel like is a friend. We always have so much to talk about. And she always takes the time to teach me again how to use a straightener to curl my hair (one day I'll get it!) and always makes sure I leave feeling great. 

Paul picked me up at the hair salon afterwards and we headed out - we ate at "X-Site" in Burnaby. It's a bit of a hole in the wall pub but we love it, the portions are huge and all the meals are under $10. 

Then when we got home the living room was transformed! Well kind of. 

While we were out Paul had had my sister Jenna come in, set up a mattress, pillows and blanket, as well as some wine, Salt & Vinegar Chips (my favorite) for us to watch "What to expect when you're expecting." It was awesome! I felt so thought of. Not only was it romantic but it showed how much Paul really thought of me in this - some girls want to dress up and go out dancing or other things, I want to be comfortable and curl up with my husband. I love having a drink, and I love love love Salt & Vinegar Chips. So this was perfect. We put on PJ's and laughed our way through a great movie. A perfect date night.

After the movie Paul fell asleep on the makeshift bed, so I watched half of Grey’s Anatomy until I was too tired to keep watching. It was perfect. I got to watch my show cuddled up with my hubby, but didn’t have to listen to him mock it. Best of both worlds.

Saturday morning we slept in a little bit and then joined our friends Stef and Jodi to help them move. They are moving in with another good friend of ours, Lyndsay. It was raining and we were very glad we’d come to help them! I love the new place the girls are in.

Then we headed to Starbucks to meet up with a new friend from church, Rachel. Rachel will be moving in with us in January and we couldn’t be more excited. We were meeting up to talk Vision, details and just get to know each other. She was so much fun to talk to and it sounds like us living together is an answer to prayer for both of us.

Then we headed home. Paul had a day of homework ahead of him and I needed to go to Costco, then come home and pack. I wanted to stop at Jenna’s to drop something off. And then I ended up staying there for an hour and a half. But oh, I enjoy my sister. Connor cuddled with me. Jenna and I talked. It was raining outside and we were warm outside. Technically it was a waste of time, but in reality it was sooo appreciated. I ran off to Costco and Superstore then – not realizing that Superstore was having a no tax sale, and that this was a Saturday in December, the shopping experiences can only be described as “hellish” however I got what I needed and returned home in one piece.

Then I was supposed to start working on dinner. But I was bagged. And man, shopping with frustrating people is exhausting! So instead I had a beer and read a book for an hour, curled up in the living room with Paul doing homework near me and by the end of that I felt SO MUCH better. And then I made up some food for dinner. My friend Sarah came over for dinner – we had such a great time of talking and laughing. It was a good night.

Sunday, though, was productivity time. We wanted to get our storage room totally emptied out, then pack everything we’d emptied into boxes and then fill the room back up. This is our “packed boxes” room. Whenever a box is packed it gets put in this room. This is not only a good strategy for any move, but especially helpful since we are moving all our furniture on Friday December 21st and then moving our boxes on Saturday December 22nd. We worked as an awesome team and got it done way faster than expected. We also purged crap that needed purging and organized a lot of other stuff. Now each day I can pack one box and just add it to the room!

Then we stopped by the Mitchell’s to welcome my cousin LeAnna back from England and meet her new baby Walter. He is very sweet and I can’t wait to get more time with him! Then it was on to church, where I hosted. And of man, I love hosting. Though it makes me think I’m funnier than I am - I tell a joke and 150 people laugh. That’s a rush, I tell you what.

After church it was out to the Morgan’s for a birthday dinner for Paul and Kevin (Paul’s step brother). It was a great night – amazing food (as always), fun drinks, great conversation, and a rousing round of “Tri-Bond”. I love getting the chance to hang out with the family and continue getting to know this side of our family. It’s still so weird to have a whole new family context!

Monday I tried out my crock pot again (more to come on that tomorrow) and had amazing success. Then it was time for a Deacon’s meeting. This meeting was full of fun conversation, prayer, great dialogue and lots of good people. I repeat again, I love my church family.

Tuesday night I was serving Broccoli, Rice & Chicken Casserole. I made most of the stuff for it Monday night. Which mean Tuesday wasn’t too rushed and I managed to make sugar cookies and Peanut Butter Fudge for LG as well. Jodi was making mini apple pies (amazing) to add to the spread. On top of it being great to be with LG it was also exciting because we had 17 people in the house! Dang! And we had amazing conversation in our time together. We broke into small groups and it got even better. Then after people were leaving, a few people stayed behind because they were having great conversations as well. How amazing to get to put aside that time to grow together in Christ.

Last night after work I headed to Richmond to Old Navy sparked by a blog I’d read that morning (more on this again tomorrow). I did some crazy fast shopping and then headed back into Vancouver to kits to meet up with Paul and some classmates at “The Cove” for Wings and Beer. This was something I was really looking forward to; not just because it was Paul’s bday and it’s fun to celebrate him, and not just because I like Wings and Beer (though I really do) but also because I love getting to know Paul’s classmates and seeing how they see my husband. They all like him a lot, and it’s fun to see “school Paul.” We had a great night – they were very generous and covered our bill for Paul’s bday, and it felt like a perfect evening. Paul kept telling me what an awesome way it was to spend his birthday.

Tonight we’re off to another vendor Christmas function – it’s our travel agents Christmas Event. We are very excited! We always feel like nights like this are free dates and we enjoy them as such. I am looking forward to hanging out with my boss and her boyfriend, and to spend the evening eating great food and enjoying good conversation. And then it’s Friday and then it’s the weekend! More packing to come. Yikes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thoughts on Christmas

I love Christmas, friends and blogging. So when my bloggy friend Laura asked to guest post on my blog to share some of her thoughts on Christmas, I thought yes! This is the perfect storm of awesome. So without further ado, here's Laura!

My dear friend, Tara, has allowed me to guest post on her blog, and share some things on my heart about this time of year.

Christmas is a season that makes me think a lot.  I read blogs, watch movies, and hear stories about hospitality, togetherness, tradition and all the warm feelings that accompany the season.  I listen to my husband reminisce about holiday sing-alongs, talking with his siblings about nothing in particular late into the night, and a myriad of  other holiday memories and traditions.  It is his stories that have me thinking the most.  He tells me tales of:

- brothers and sisters scrambling downstairs before mom and dad are awake, eagerly anticipating the sugary breakfast cereals awaiting them in their stockings;
- hot apple cider simmering away on stove tops all week long, being replenished and enjoyed constantly;
- times when money was tighter, and family banded together to make the season special for one another in less lavish, but more heartfelt, ways;
- Christmas mingles, candlelit services, and celebrations;
- Board game marathons and extended time with friends and neighbours;
- Uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins galore piling into cozy living rooms and migrating between houses;
- Spontaneous living room caroling and planned devotional time honouring our Saviour each Christmas morning.

In short - he grew up in a Christmas movie!  I frequently roll my eyes at him and write him off as a hopeless romantic - not just around this time of year, but pretty much on a weekly basis.  His version of Christmas actually freaks me out a little bit.  People - everywhere?  Unplanned events - all the time?  Noise and chaos and improvisation?  

 Christmas for me was very different as an only child of financially well-off parents that were not involved in social circles, and with no extended family that was close.  Occasionally, we would not even bother to celebrate Christmas (sometimes because of the hassle and for a while because we did not want to Christianize an originally pagan holiday - you do know Jesus wasn't actually born in December, right?).  Decorating and present buying was a thing of beauty - literally.  My mom is an amazing interior decorator.  Our home, when we decorated, looked like it came right out of a magazine cover photo.  We would take turns so that I, as a child with no concept of matching or decorating, could have a "turn" at the tree every other year.  One year my mom would do it, and it looked like Martha Stewart had visited.  The next year, every rainbow ornament I could get my hands on hung off of our tree haphazardly.  

Fast forward a number of years, and here Nick and I are married.  Nick is trying to convince me to decorate the house when I know that we're not even going to BE here for Christmas.  And I am telling Nick that he absolutely cannot put two bird ornaments side by side on the tree so that they are "him and me kissing" because you need to spread them out EVENLY.  Nick is falling into the joy of the season, and I am frantically making lists of each thing I still have to do - buying presents, getting cookie ingredients, making cookies, wrapping presents - check, check, check off my list they go.  And I stopped to think, why are we SO different?  But then I realized that we're not really.  We're both just living out our family traditions, which over the years inevitably became our own.  

 This got me thinking even more.  What do I want our kids to be like?  How will they view things like Christmas and family, hospitality and tradition?  Will they be "hopeless romantics" like their dad, or will they be a one-man army of organization like their mom?  I realized what a huge role we as eventual parents (God willing) will play in that.  I cannot fake being a free spirit any more than Nick can fake being organized.  I will still move that ornament an inch to the left when Nick is not looking, and he will still miss at least something on any to-do list.  

But... I'll let you in on a little secret.  I WANT to be more like Nick.  I need a little bit of romanticism in my life.  I want to not care about decorating perfection.  I want to be okay with having lots of people over in a less than perfect home.  I want to WANT to decorate even if it's just for a short time.  I want to have those warm fuzzy feelings at certain times of the year.  And more than that, I want these things for my future family as well.  Christmas is a perfect opportunity for type-A personalities to lose 10 pounds before Christmas due to stress.  So many things to keep track of.  So many things to organize.  So much "extra" crammed into an already full and busy life.  But it's also a perfect opportunity to let go.  To be a little messy.  To actually slow down (as difficult as that sounds).  So, I will learn.  Slowly, gradually, and with God's help (and okay, at least one or two to-do lists), I will learn.

 I will learn to wrap my presents in non-matching wrapping paper once in a while.  (In fact, I did one present in each colour this year, and you know what?  That little girl part of me that decked out the tree with every spectrum of colour she could fit on it perked up a little bit as she surveyed the finished product).  I will learn to remember how good it feels to look around at a fully decorated house, even when there is no one there to appreciate it on Christmas day.  I will learn to enjoy seeing my entire living room carpet completely covered in wrapping paper and ribbons (before I clean it all up and enjoy that, too!).  And I will learn to see traditions as memories to cherish that will keep me company in my old age rather than inconveniences to my tightly run schedule.  And hopefully, as I learn, I will one day also teach.  Because as beautiful and "stress free" as those magazine Christmases are, when you actually succeed in living one out, it lives you a little bit empty inside.  

There's a small part deep down that can only truly be filled with a little bit of noise, a little bit of chaos and a little bit of improvisation.  And there's a bigger part inside that can only be filled by people.  Whether it's friends, family, or strangers, Christmas just isn't the same when you don't share it.  Even if you have to go and look for someone to share it with because you don't have a "Christmas movie" family in your back pocket.  And there's the biggest part of all that only Jesus can fill.   Sure, you couldn't find him in a stable in December all those years ago.  Sure, as Christians, we may have high-jacked an existing "pagan" holiday, and even get a little too caught up in all the commercialism that goes along with it.  But I know where you can find Him.  You can find Him in the hearts of people as they come together to love each other.  You can find Him in the generosity of people as they reach out to those in need this time of year.  You can find Him in the imperfections,  because those are His favourite.  You can find him in the broken.  You can find Him in the unplanned.  You can find Him in the redemption of burnt out relationships rekindled.  And you can find Him waiting behind you with open arms when Christmas doesn't turn out to be all it's supposed to be.  Because you know what?  I think Jesus is a little bit of a hopeless romantic, too.  And He's hopelessly in love with each one of us.  That's why He came to be in that less-than-perfect Christmas stable in the first place all those years ago, in whatever month it actually was.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Christmas Party 1
Friday: Freezer Food
Saturday: Pub night for Paul’s Bday
Sunday: “Dairy and Gluten Free Meal” Details to follow!

I’ve picked easy foods this week – I tossed the Crock Pot Creamy Taco’s in this morning which means that tonight while I would normally be cooking dinner I’ll be bulk baking chicken for lunches and Tuesday’s dinner and Microwaving the Rice for Tuesday’s dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to a Deacon’s meeting and I won’t have had to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen and will have dinner for Monday and half of Tuesdays dinner prepped!

Then Tuesday I’ll only have to steam the Brocooli and mix the rest of the ingredients for the casserole. Which means I can consentrate on setting up for LG, chatting and praying with Paul about the meeting portion of the evening, and probably even get a few minutes to have a sit down with a book…or pack some boxes. Not sure yet.

Between Monday and Tuesdays dinner there will be more than enough for leftovers on Wednesday, which is good since Paul has class until 7:30 and always needs to take lunch and dinner that day. This is also Paul’s birthday, so I feel bad that I’m not making him some big Paul meal, but he assures me that he eats well all the time and not to worry.

Thursday night is the first of my work Christmas Parties so that is food taken care of (it’s going to be awesome – the our travel agents party) and Friday night we have a youth worship night (Chapel!) so we’ll pull out some of the freezer food for easy cooking…and because we have to eat through our freezer to help the move.

We own a standing deep freezer and our fridge. So we need to move them when we move. I’ve been told though, that when you move freezer and fridge’s they should be given a day to sit, plugged in, without being used. My plan is to move the food over into the new house’s fridge/freezer. But this means I have to use up much of what we have in both of ours so they fit well into one fridge/freezer. I’m planning to eat through most of the convenience foods and random pieces, we’ll have enough space at the house already to freeze up chicken and other bulk items like the ham and turkey I have but not enough to empty my deep freezer as is.

 Saturday packing all day (I’m even paying some of the youth from our church to help me as part of a fundraiser they are doing) and after that it is Paul’s bday dinner at a pub. After a day full of packing (I’m planning 9:30am to 5pm) I’ll be very glad to have a shower, get dressed nicely and head out to a pub with friends. Sunday I’ll be packing for a bit in the morning, then meeting my Nana for lunch, hosting at church and then heading home to make a specialty allergy-specific meal for friends and will be posting the details of that later this week (in case you need any ideas for awesome food that caters to allergies).


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