Saturday, January 03, 2015

Living, Learning, Loving... Food

To any that know me, they know (and hopefully have been served) food that I love to cook- but preferably, bake. Martha Stewart? One of my closest best friends. Her dessert recipes, especially. They're dependable, flawless, and delicious. What's not to love??? Ah- the sugar.

Last year at this time, I was five months pregnant with Baby Jill. It's hard to see weight gain on a normal day, let alone the day you have to show up to the OB and get weighed and recorded. Perhaps my weekly intake of Ghirardelli brownies didn't help the cause. I asked a dear friend, who herself has had four children and looks healthier than she ever did, what her trick was. She, as only a tried-and-true friend would do, bought me the "Trim & Healthy Mama" book for my birthday. I started following the authors' nutritional guidelines in February and although it took a few months to get into the full swing, I'm happy to finally donate my 2014 'goal jeans' to the thrift store this January, and purchase new goal jeans for 2015:-) Goal jeans= tough love.

What I like about THM is that with exception of a few ingredients that are readily found online (or in a healthier-than-Wal-Mart store), it's doable.

For me, it hasn't been an easy battle being fuller than I'd like. I've battled weight since my teenage years. You can only suck in your abdomen so much. I've learned that I'd rather learn to balance my fats/carbs/protein and let my body do the rest of the work. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Below are some bloggers that are my new inspiration for daily menu items. Yes, I do still love Martha. I always will. But I just visit less with her nowadays;-) (her lemon bars in her picture posted above)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

New year, old challenges

No resolutions this year... too high of standards to live up to;-)

As we look ahead as a family, we will continue to work on the challenges of last year, with hopes that we all will be a little more learned by next new year's day...

- continued lessons in patience, self-control, patience, and more patience
- potty train Elliott... possibly before Baby4 arrives in May??!! Last time was very difficult, with newly nursing baby Elliott and older, more stubborn sister Camille
- general daily training of our children. Not easy, not inspirational, but just so very necessary every (!!) day of their lives

... and maybe even take a break once in a while:-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photo Bomb

Next Friday is November 1st... the last month before Christmas Crazy, and a new year. This year was a blur although many days with young children seem to drag by. "Killing Time" is such a painful thing when time is so fleeting but let any mother of a young, overactive toddler tell you that the twenty minutes before bedtime is the longest of the day.

Here's a few of the photo's from this year...

Remodel of the living room and hallway...

My reality...

My dream...

Family day on a retired aircraft carrier...

Day out with Tinna, our babysitter... hikes and beach days!

 Family day at the beach with my two sisters and brother-in-law...

My thrill of the summer... home grown peaches!!!!

A visit from the parents and our second annual visit to Lassen National Park...

A day at the beach with the Sacramento cousins, Elliott is the blond blob in the front left corner. Lots of porpoises were seen:-)

On the technology side, we FINALLY upgraded our ten year old computer once it finally broke me when it refused to jump between Gmail, Facebook, and Amazon. The dinosaur has moved on and my new, sleeker model was ordered and installed by my ever-so-wonderful husband. Happy early Christmas to me! Here's hoping to more posts in the future...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Glimaces of Christmas

Christmas has come and gone once again. It's two days away from a new year and my boys' January birthdays. We stayed local this year in light of our upcoming travels in March to B.C. for my sister's wedding. Thanks to Amazon, I didn't have to stand in any lines, and the non-discript brown 'smiley' boxes that arrived didn't peak much curiosity with the children. Here's a few pictures from our big day...

 Our resident handy-man and tool-guy...

 "What? I'm not supposed to be behind the gate? It's Camille's fault!"

Big Buzz Lightyear and Little Buzz Lightyear. No explanations needed.

This really was a good Christmas for our family. Earlier in the month I hosted my second annual cookie-exchange with twelve other moms from Russell's elementary school. The simple act of hospitality really opens up the doors (literally!) for friendship, as it is so rare nowadays to be invited into somebody's home- and to be served a hot cup of coffee and a fresh cinnamon roll. Never underestimate the impact of these acts.

Since the school children were still in school during the cookie-exchange, two of the moms asked if I would share the Nativity story with their children, so the following week we hosted an after-school "Nativity Party" complete with snacks, story, and simple craft. I was amazed at the thirst the children had for a story that was true and not just another fantasy story. 

Finally, the thrill of our season was the answered prayer that we prayed daily for the month of December- that one of our friend-families would attend the Christmas Eve service with us. And. They. Did. A year ago, I was given a polite but clear "no thank-you..." This year, an excited "yes!" This family has burdened our hearts and it has been so amazing to see God stir their souls and cause them to question what faith is and why we believe what we believe.

A final sign-off for the year of 2012! May 2013 be a year of renewed blessings for us all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autumn in a glance

Summer has long ago wrapped up but this Canadian-Cali-girl hangs on as long as possible. That means enjoying garden tomatoes long past Labor Day and "hooky" beach days in October, when school just doesn't seem as important. Dan and I and the kids met my parents at Lassen National Park in mid-September for some 'camping' (i.e. air conditioned cabin with a kitchenette).

 Definitely a must-return in the years to come. So much to explore... and so few people to shoulder around. It was only a 5 hour drive from home as well!

 This September marked ten years of marriage. My parents took care of Russell and Camille for the two nights while we had Elliott with us. Another ten years, we'll have a house full of teens- which I don't think Dan will mind so much;-)

 October was Camille's month of birthday celebration. "Toy Story" is the best thing in her mind, and the fact that Buzz can fly just makes her dream of the day that she can. We celebrated with neighborhood friends and  Lemon Cake.

 A last splash in the pool before the chill of Fall finally set in for good. Elliott LOVES water, sand, and dirt. He is the only one of my children that embraced sand in infancy instead of screaming. A few handfuls in the mouth, and he was off scooting and chasing the seagulls with all the effort he could afford.

A few more pictures remain on my cell phone. Memories pop up despite the lack of a real camera in tow. These days are very long (often) but photographs prove that the years are too short. May we as parents cherish the youth our children hold because all too soon they'll be grown.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Summer memories

Life tends to drag by in the dreariness of winter but it roars by in the warmth and sun of the summer. After Russell's school year ended May 31st, we started to make arrangements and get ready for our two-week trip to the NW and B.C. It's been four years since we drove to Vancouver Island and back to the Bay, this time with three children in tow instead of one. The drive up was very difficult on the two youngest but we all adjusted to Grandpa and Grandma's house on the Island once we had a good night's sleep.

 Great-Grandma (Nana) meeting Elliott for the first time... 99 years apart!

Grandma and Camille at the Forest Discovery Museum on the Island. 

We celebrated my Dad's 65th birthday with friends and family and then spent another few days with them. Mom and Dad made sure the grandkids had a fun time- and so did we:-) My youngest sister Andrea and her husband Kris were kind to visit from Edmonton since we hadn't seen them since Christmas 2010. I had the opportunity to see a few friends in the evenings once Elliott was in bed and didn't need to be nursed, but I would have loved to see more (Tanya W and Jen K, if you're reading;-) We blitzed back down south on the I-5 later the following week and spent a few precious hours with friends as well, before attacking the Eugene-SF Bay leg of our trip. Amazingly, all the kids did great- what a blessing.

The Sunday after we returned home was Canada Day (July 1st), so that called for a grill-out and guests! We've been friends with each couple since moving here in 2004/2005 and it's been fun to see the families grow over the years. Elliott and another baby boy didn't make the picture this time. 

Not to be outdone, Independence Day was a few days later. Dan and I celebrated at the local block party with food and friends and fireworks. I had taken Camille and Elliott home early but they still didn't sleep until late due to the explosions and noise.

 A (literal) taste of summer! Fresh cherry tomatoes for our tummies and ripening squash and peas and sunflowers to come.

I was in Target last week and the 'Back to School' displays were already up. I averted my eyes and instead bought ice-cream and cones and Popsicles to continue our celebration of summer:-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Family of 5

This picture above is our only (therefore, first!) family picture we have of the five of us. Perhaps by Christmas, we'll have another but for now, this is my cherished photo:-) We went out to dinner on Saturday night for a pre-Mother's Day meal instead of fighting the crowds on Sunday. The older two children did fine but Dan ended up pacing around with Elliott for a good part of the time- he likes to keep moving! Sunday was a relaxing day with another empowering sermon from one of our pastors. Although I dearly miss our old church, our new church home has had a spiritual banquet of lessons for us to learn.

 Russell now knows that we will let him order whatever he wants when we go to a restaurant (his palate is limited, so I know it won't be steak for a few more years!) and he was heartbroken that he couldn't order the chocolate chip pancakes (he's learning to read, hence reading menus as well) but we insisted that he order something else since it was 6pm by this time- and we'd be back another weekend for the pancakes.
Dining with Littles isn't easy since we don't want other couples' dining experiences to be miserable but Camille did great... and in a few year, Elliott will as well. Until then, we'll keep McD's on our 'restaurant' list;-)