Friday, December 23, 2011

A present and a cake

One year ago about this time my water broke and I decided to pay the bills, because I did not want that on my mind during labour or over Christmas. Tonight I endlessly mark assignments, because I don't want that on my mind during a special birthday party or over Christmas. How little has changed and yet...

The year has been a good one. It has not flown by...but I don't know where it went either. Happy 1st Birthday Rylyn. You continue to surprise us and leave us in awe of God's miracles everyday.

Here are a couple new photos.

Rylyn opening her first present from Auntie Marg.
Just like it should be...looks better in the photo than in person.
Bible Reflections:

Luke 1:14

New International Version (NIV)
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth...

-Thank you God for the joy of birth and birthdays. How blessed are we that Rylyn can celebrate hers in sync with your Son, Jesus.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Family Funny

One reason I like December is the increased time with "The Fam." Which, we all know means increased laughter, mainly at each other.

Upon receiving Rylyn's hand-knitted stocking in the mail from her Great-Great-Aunt in Nova Scotia...
Kara: "There. Now, that is a proper stocking for Rylyn."
Chris: Nods.
Kara: "I love our stockings. I'd like to buried with mine."
Chris: "You can be buried with mine too then."
Kara: Raises eyebrow.
Chris: "One for each foot."

Countdown is on! Happy 5 more days until Christmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Visit with Santa

Yesterday Rylyn had her first visit with Santa at our friends' work Christmas party. Enjoy the photos courtesy of my friend Jordyn below.

Go ahead mom...get a coffee or something...I'm comfy

Opening my first present from Santa

Playing with Ben under the tree
Bible Reflections:
"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name..." -John 1:12

I love the hope of a child that is celebrated this season. Child-like faith. In Santa. In a Savior come as a baby. Such faith makes us children again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

9 and 10 month Favourites

As Ry turned 11 months this week it was time to organize digi-photos for more scrapbooking and clear the camera to take more in the months to come.

Here are our latest favs...

Standing all by myself

This is Thelma, named after the generous woman at a
retirement home we visited who made and gave her to me.

Nap time
I love my tiger and napping.

The best of 6 taken for Christmas Cards!

Of course with pictures, comes videos...a little rough as they were taken from Daddy's phone...but entertaining nonetheless. The summary: Rylyn likes dunebuggies but not dancing Santas.

Bible Reflections:

Luke 2

16 So [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
-As the holidays approach, take time to ponder your blessings from God, especially those that may not initially appear as blessings, and treasure them in your heart. For these are the real gifts of the season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Things I love about the Christmas Season

This weekend I found myself eagerly looking forward to Christmas break, which, ahem, by the way officially starts for me this year on Christmas Eve! Yikes! I shall not complain about my two weeks of bliss, as I know there are those who will get the weekend and nothing more or even worse...have to work the weekend. Nonetheless, although my halls are not yet decked, the anticipation of the break has put me in the spirit of the season a little early this year.

Here are ten reasons I love the Christmas Season:

10. Shopping. Not only the gift buying, but spending's bad I know, but it makes me feel good to spend. I also love wrapping...

9. Making Christmas cards. Pull out the stamps, ink and ribbon. If I had a BeDazzler, I'd pull that out too.

8. Bazaars. Sweets. Crafts. Penny Sales. Fun.

7. Light tours. Grab a cup of Hot Chocolate and go for an evening drive. I know where the most extravagant display is in my hometown and I drive by every year (at least twice).

6. 2 weeks off. Being that I took two 2 hour naps in one day this weekend, I would say my body, mind and spirit are in need of some rest.

5. Christmas music and movies. For music, more so the traditional Jesus versions than "the Frosties". My current favourite is Joy to the World. For movies, anything Muppet.

4. Silent Night in a candle lit church, provided my husband is not feeling like a pyromaniac and attempting tricks with his candle. That makes me nervous.

3. Time with family. Whether it be laughing after dessert or opening stockings Christmas morning. Traditions. Family. FOOD. Love.

2. The inner child. Since having a child of my own, I realize that children at Christmas allow us to relive our own memories.They keep the joy young and real.

1. There is something simply perfect about heaven's plan of salvation being welcomed to earth as a baby.

Isaiah 7:14
New King James Version (NKJV)
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.[a]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trick-or-Treating Jesus

"I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father's house. They will hang on him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quality, from the cups to all the pitchers." -Isaiah 22:22-23

While reading this strange passage in Isaiah, prophecies about the Lord's judgment on the unfaithful in the Old Testament, I initially found myself puzzled. Normally, I resort to a bland prayer of, "Lord help me understand this." This time, rather, I decided to say, "Whatever, God," and leave the text alone and pray for my family. Then, I prayed that God would make my children like pegs in a secure place. That He would root them in His goodness, such that good things would hang over their lives. That they would make us proud and bring Him glory. And, I understood.

Halloween has never scared me, I love it. I grew up with it. I think I love Halloween because I am "a peg in a secure place." My celebrations are not to give glory to evil. They are to love the community and the people in it from my doorway. A night to say, "My door is open." The roots of Halloween are quite different from its meaning today: a celebration of community coming together in their creativity, costumes and sugar. The intent to scare is optional, but can also remain on the fun side of the continuum, as opposed to the occult side.

On the other hand, another meaning of Halloween for me today is still oddly similar to its original roots: driving away evil. One of the greatest roots of evil in the world is fear. "There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." - 1 John 4:18

I choose to love instead of fear and open my door. And in doing so, I have actually opened my door to Jesus trick-or-treating on my doorstep. ;)

Enjoy the photos and video from Rylyn's first Halloween.

Moving around

Hiding in my blanket from Auntie Laura

PJs I woke up in

Playing with Bones in a Box

Hiking at Spencer Gorge in Ms. Mary's pumpkin outfit

Mom and Dad are winter and I am snowman!
PJs I went to bed in

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Fun

"I love Little Caesar's."
Yes, her first slice.
Yes, she ate the whole thing less the crust.
 No, she has not had another since.

"I want this one."
Picking out a pumpkin for Halloween.

"Put me in the tub, mom, really, I'll float."
Don't ask how she got herself in there.
Bible Reflections:
"In your presence is fullness of joy." -Psalm 16:11b, NKJV
-And where can we flee His presence? If this we remember, then our joy will be full.

A eulogy for a cat.

The sound of a downpour is a welcome sound to a sleepless night. Aside from the computer, my company is Quincy. He lies on my lap and purrs away our sorrow. Today he lost his adopted younger brother. Charlie was living with a chronic illness for a while now. Chris and I made the decision months ago, but today we acted upon it before his illness turned to suffering as today there was a turning.

A eulogy for a cat.

First, Prince Rillion. Then Lily. Next, the gender-neutral Charlie for our rescued kitten. We would call Charlie "he", because one testicle was removed during the spay/neuter. Cautious and careful. Charlie used to hiss at Quincy when we returned with Quincy from the groomers, shaved. Quiet. He rarely mewed. Affectionate. Charlie loved head pats and would greet me in the morning with purrs. Snuggles on my lap with Rylyn when she was born. Crying when she did out of concern. Patient. He wore the Halloween costumes I dressed him up in each year. Quirky and maimed from birth, we loved you anyway. We will miss knowing you aren't lurking around the corner, but will embrace the peace of your passing.

Charlie. Charles. Charleton. Char char. Kitty. 2006-2011.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bye Bye

While leaving for work today I was treated to a wave and "ba ba ba ba ba ba." Rylyn's own version of "bye bye." What a blessing to be on the receiving end of the milestone. It certainly beats the molars she has been working on as part of a recent birthday present for me.

Almost anywhere I go now I am frequently asked "how is work going?" Some ask me like it is a swear word. Honestly, it is great to be back and I am very proud of myself for the balance I have been maintaining. The next question that often follows is, "how does Chris like being a stay-at-home, Dad?"

"Do I like cake?" I am pretty sure Chris likens his new role to eating Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard DQ Cake. 

Interestingly, once we have established that things are going well on the home and work front, the BIG GUN comes out. "Does Chris do the groceries?"

"When I write him a list." Because if I didn't write a list, all we would have to eat is Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard DQ cake. The honest answer is that it is a responsibility we share. However, that is how we view our lives, all parts, something we when Chris holds Ry and they wave "bye bye" each morning.

Bible Reflections
Luke 5:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

When life hands you more fish than your nets can carry, you call your partners. For me, my first call is to Chris, because I don't have to call far, he is usually in the boat with me. And, we all need other boats for back up too, because you never know when somebody's cell is off.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A 1000 Words...

Giggling at Daddy

Bonnet Beauty

I couldn't resist posting this one.

"I'll get you for that last photo, mom. Watch your back!"

Psalm 62

 1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
 he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

-For busy days and tired nights, may we find rest in Him and time to stop and "smell the roses." Or this case, capture a memory with a photograph.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cat's out

I am into hour number four of not being able to fall back asleep. I am not sure whether I should blame falling into a coma for three hours at 8:30 pm tonight or a few other things on my mind, which shall remained unnamed. Thank goodness it is not a school night.

Ah yes, tomorrow is Saturday. Pure bliss after working all week and leaving my daughter in "daddy day care." You caught that, eh? Nothing gets by you. I was waiting until I was officially back and had shared the news with my colleagues and class before letting "the cat" out on my blog. Although, Chris and I are both equally excited about our new arrangement, we are more excited about the new baby we are expecting to be born, sometime on the cusp of February and March. The news was both a surprise and a joy! What a blessing from God! We are thankful His plans are always better than our own.

Some things I am enjoying about being back to work:
-my morning shower, 10 minutes of uninterrupted cleanliness
-having both my husband and my daughter to come home to each day
-seeing the potential Rylyn has in my students' achievements
-watching Chris grow as father

Some things I am not enjoying about being back to work:
-knowing my responsibility is to have that shower and get out the door and not attend to the crying baby
-missing cuddles and laughs that Chris is getting instead of me (thou shall not covet!)
-being exhausted and then not being able to sleep at 2:30 am

Bible Reflections:

Acts 13:22

New International Version (NIV)
22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

-David faced much opposition in becoming king. He sought God. As our family faces opposition to choices we make as we move forward in our own destiny, we must seek God's heart and trust His plan. By seeking God, we are better witnesses of His Love.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Kitchen and a Kingdom

We have been savouring August. Loving what is left of summer. At 7 1/2 months Rylyn started crawling. Finally. After watching 2 1/2 months of what my aunt calls "Yoga Baby." We were excited once her little arms started progressing forward.

Rylyn 7 months+

Speaking of progression, I have never been a fan of the my kitchen. Not that I don't like to cook or bake, nor that I am horrible at it...I just seem to find "better" things to do with my time. Delving in to the world of making baby food has certainly (and enjoyably) expanded my culinary expertise experience. Pureed sweet potatoes with broccoli turned into an adventure of making yummy sweet potato fries with left overs. I didn't use a recipe for either endeavour! If you want to dapple in your own kitchen, check out my friend Mary's new blog Recipe Exchange.

Bible Reflections:
Matthew 13 (NLT)
Parable of the Mustard Seed 31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Parable of the Yeast  33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
-God's people are The Kingdom of Heaven. We can have a domino effect on the lives of others by loving them. That is what Jesus did. He loved people. Chris and I have been collecting backpacks and back to school supplies for Community Care through iCare Smithville (our unofficial, non-profit, "love your community" organization). What effect will a simple kindness have on others? Have on faith in a dark time? Just like the magic of the mustard seed and yeast, it greater than our intent.
-For more National and Global ideas and inspiration, check out my friend Nathan's new blog Nate's National Post and for a movie with a similar theme, check out "Pay it Forward."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Faith in the next 15 minutes

Hebrews 11

New King James Version (NKJV)
By Faith We Understand
 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

I was sick with a virus this past week. For the first time ever I felt incapable of taking care of Rylyn, because I could barely take care of myself. I called my sister. She said she would be there as soon as she could and asked, "Would you like me to call before I leave?" I had told her, "No." Here is why: It is a 15 minute drive from my sister's home to mine. Provided I was not waiting for a phone call, my hope was renewed every 15 minutes. In my mind, it was only 15 more minutes until help arrived, even if it took an hour and a half. To wait 15 minutes was manageable for me. It felt as if I had to wait longer, then she was not coming.

I liken this to the verse above. I have to trust God for the things I can't see. It reminds me that He is in control.  When I trust Jesus for the things I can't see the evidence of our relationship is faith. God has been placing surprises in the lives of those I love lately. Some good, some not so good, some great. We have to trust in Him to do the miraculous. Have faith in the unseen.

A song by Delirious?, Deeper, starts off by singing, "I wanna go deeper, But I don’t know how to swimI wanna be meeker, But have you seen this old Earth?, I wanna fly higher, But these arms won’t take me there"...then by the time we reach the bridge the singer realizes it is not in his power, "It’s time to walk the path where many seem to fall, Hold me in your arms, Just like any father would, How long do we have to wait?, How long?" The voice realizes that his own strength will only take him so far, God must do the rest.

So, how long do we have to wait? For the things unseen, for unanswered prayers, for good testimony?Maybe years...but it also could be 15 minutes. Sometimes the future seems too far, but I can handle that God will be with me in the next 15 minutes and the next 15 after that.

-Aside: Although they are no longer touring, I have seen Delirious? live and when I think about how empowering their music was in that moment, it still brings me chills. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Baby Brain

I have a sheepish confession: while pregnant, I feared baby brain. I thought having baby brain meant that having a baby would somehow denounce my intelligence. This is a myth. I do, however, suffer from baby brain.

Baby brain is the condition where a parent's (usually mother's) mental power is all-consumed by looking after their precious little one, such that other thoughts and deeds get interrupted resulting in forgetful, silly situations. I liken it to a memory disorder. Your working and short-term memory are preoccupied with baby thoughts at any given moment and there is no room for anything else. Thank goodness most of my knowledge is stored in long-term memory!

You know you have baby brain when... (yes, these are true accounts)...

1) You pay a $19.00 parking ticket instead of putting money in the meter.

2) You lock your keys, cell phone and wallet in the car while at the grocery store and have to call CAA to bail you out. (Don't worry I did not lock Rylyn in the car with keys, I was holding her or I would have added and took a large object to smash in a window and retrieve child).

3) You can rarely find your keys anymore because they are not in their designated location. Instead you find them in strange places like the bathroom or refrigerator.

4) You start preparing food, walk away and then find your snack still awaiting you more than an hour later. (Although this does not beat the time, pre-pregnancy and motherhood, I put an ice-cream bar in my hoodie pocket to eat in 5 minutes...I'll let you guess what happened.)

5) You have worn various pieces of clothing either inside out or backwards in public.

6) You take your baby to the ER and do not bring a single diaper or wipe and hope baby does not poo for the almost 4 hours you are there.

7) You forget to buy stamps at the store at least 3 times in a row when checking out.

8) You know there is one more really good example of baby brain...but you just can think of it while typing....

On the plus side, I know my creativity is still in tact as Rylyn and I have been enjoying hamper time together. Rylyn can scoot, giggle and coo, but she does not like to practice sitting on her own. I thought the laundry hamper was the perfect size for her to practice while having distracted fun. She can catch herself and as the pictures show has learned to pull herself up too! So much for practicing sitting....

Bible Reflections:

2 Timothy 1:7

New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
-I frequently need to take my thoughts captive to avoid them from getting away from me or to just focus and rid my mind of distractions. To do this I will pray, "Lord, captivate my thoughts and give me a sound mind." This verse also reminds me that we have a power over our thoughts that comes from God.

Monday, August 1, 2011

One Cornflower

For our first Valentine's Day Chris bought me a bouquet of three roses, Vanilla Fields perfume and chocolate. I don't think he'll ever top that, it has been downhill ever since.

I can't criticize him. Neither of us are romantics. Meaning I am not much better. I think the best I have done was a love poem he had to puzzle piece together or a self-made book "101 Reasons Why I Love You." Once again, both made early in high school.

Chris was doing yard work today. He stopped long enough to bring his daughter a single perfect cornflower in from the garden. I put it in a vase and Rylyn stared at it while she had snack and he went back to work.

He couldn't have done better if he had bought me a dozen roses. I guess he topped that first Valentine's Day today. Romance needs to be found in the in between. The unintentional.

Happy 4th Wedding Anniversary, Chris. (August 4, 2007) I still haven't made or bought you a card, but that is okay, I don't think you have mine either.

Bible Reflections:
Song of Solomon 2:11-13

New King James Version (NKJV)
11 For lo, the winter is past,
      The rain is over and gone.
       12 The flowers appear on the earth;
      The time of singing has come,
      And the voice of the turtledove
      Is heard in our land.
       13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
      And the vines with the tender grapes
      Give a good smell.
      Rise up, my love, my fair one,
      And come away! 

-How easy it is to forget that God woos us with His creation. That longing we have to be loved by others can be satisfied by His Love. He is waiting for us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Hard Egg to Crack

I have said it before. I will not ask other parents the dreaded question. Even when asked with good intentions, it is loaded and evaluative.

"Does your baby sleep through the night, yet?"

Perhaps it is the "yet" part that bothers me. It taunts. "Because she should be."

I said don't ask me, because parents will let you know when it happens. It is defeating to have to answer, "No." Our baby girl is now 7 months (this Saturday), strong-willed and we are still on a night time journey, but for the past week I have been getting at least 7 hours of sleep in a row. I hesitate to answer "the question" with a firm, "Yes." As it is a journey and we are learning as a family. There will be regressions, sickness and nightmares. For now, I will enjoy this treat of sleep!

How? I will not discount prayer. A VERY supportive husband, who has been having more interrupted sleep than me as of late if Rylyn does wake before 5 am. He is the one tending to her during twilight time now. Although the past week, he too has been having uninterrupted sleep. Finally, ignoring the pressuring question when it is asked and answering in my mind for myself, "Rylyn will sleep though the night when she is ready as we have created the right environment and habits for it to happen."

Switching gears...umm pans...for a moment I would also like to highlight my renewed love for the "hard egg." While visiting with my aunt this month, she made me the most delicious egg salad sandwich. I have been on a hard egg-kick ever since.

Easy. Quick. Healthy. Versatile. Yummy. And, sometimes smelly!

My hard egg preparation knowledge comes from the combined wisdom of my mother and Betty Crocker: Place eggs in a pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil and allow eggs to boil for 5 minutes. Take eggs off burner. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Place in refrigerator to cool - I suggest making them in the evening and leaving them overnight. The egg shrinks in the cold away from the shell and membrane making it easier to peel. I have found this method and waiting until you want to use the egg makes the eggs less stinky too.

What do I do with my hard eggs? Eat it whole, mash it up for a salad topping, make egg salad using Miracle Whip and pepper and, my personal fav, make devilled eggs! Get crackin'!

Bible Reflections:

1 Timothy 1:14-16

The Message (MSG)
 15-19Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever...I'm passing this work on to you, my son Timothy.
-Paul could have been considered a hard egg. At one point, he was not interested in Jesus and His Followers. He was interested in persecuting them. Jesus was patient with him. Jesus loved and forgave him. And now, this work passed on to us. To be patient, loving and forgiving of the hard eggs or difficult people in our own lives.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation, No Obligations...

Perhaps my favourite part of a obligations other than relaxing and enjoying the people you are with. This year I even vacayed from the Internet. I was offline for a full 7 days. I came back to 72 emails - most of which I could delete. It amazes me how much time the Internet can swallow of our daily lives. Some by choice, some by obligation and some by addiction. I must say, the cyber-vacay was refreshing. As a result, I am reprioritizing.

A week before the vacation, I froze my Facebook wall leaving only messages and email to check. Twitter and Blogger became dessert for when I feel like a treat...alongside any other frequented sites like Etsy and Smart Canuck. The result? Decreased time on the Net and more time for other things, especially family and friends. People messaged me when it was important and I did likewise. Gone was the underlying obligation to comment on people's posts and "like" things...because they couldn't on mine. Now don't misunderstand me, these things aren't obligations, they are usually fun, but can become obligatory habits.

And wall will remain frozen for the time being and I will message and email as required as well as enjoy in the odd "dessert." And thus...if you "follow" my online activity don't worry if I seem less present. I am using the motto, quality not quantity to ensure my Net time is enjoyable for both me and my followers. Besides...there is no obligation to share everything with the World Wide Web (nothing wrong with a little privacy either!) My statuses, posts and blog entries may be less...but my life will be a little richer too.

1 Peter 2:11-12

The Message (MSG)

 11-12Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
-Don't indulge your ego...probably the less time I spend on the Internet, the less I indulge my ego. ;)

Please enjoy a short photo journey of last week's vacation to Sauble Beach as well as a video highlighting some of Rylyn's latest moves. Until next time...

Checking out Inglis Falls

Hiking back from another waterfall

"The water's cold, Grandpa!"

Catching some beach Zzzzs

Playing with my boat
"You bet I love vacation!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer's here...

Our family knows that summer has arrived when Poultryfest excites the town of Smithville and the June Jitterbug gathers Volkwagen lovers from near and far in Fireman's Park, Niagara Falls. Rylyn enjoyed the annual fesitvals for the first time this year. With the arrival of summer comes rest and vacations. On that note, I will be taking a small technology break from now until mid-July, only responding to emails of vital importance over the next few weeks. I will be back, however, so just because you don't get a blog update, it doesn't mean I have stopped blogging. Until then, I will be enjoying summer's solitude.

Barley cereal at the June Jitterbug VW Show.
Mmm favourite. Photos courtesy of Grandma Cheryl.
Bible Reflections:
Psalm 74:16-17
16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
         You have prepared the light and the sun.
 17 You have set all the borders of the earth;
         You have made summer and winter.

-Thank you God for creating summer, which for many is a season of labour, harvest and fruit and for me is a season of rest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have done a lot of reading about child-rearing. I feel like I am in a full-time course with a 24/7 practicum...wait a second, that's because I and learning. I preface this entry with I know I should not give my daughter sugary treats until...well, technically the books say never. So I guess until she is well over a year and has established a full palette of healthy options first? May I also add there is a difference between a taste and actually feeding your child something. Just like there is a difference between having a sample or two at Costco on Saturday and hitting every booth...twice...and then skipping lunch.

On Father's Day Rylyn enjoyed a taste of pudding and cool whip. Saying she loved it would be an understatement. She threw such a fit after I refused her more that I had to appease her with an ice-cube popsicle (packed safely in her Nuby mesh feeder, pictured below). The boundary setting begins. Let me tell you, the cuteness of the whole ordeal was worth the "rule" breaking. With rule breaking comes lessons learned. Rylyn learned that mom will say no...but can squeeze a little more out of dad...and then when the final no has been given, she learned that another option will often be provided. I learned that my daughter will love chocolate.

Nuby Mesh Feeder

"What do you mean I can't have more?"

"I want more!"
Bible Reflections:
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 

-Sometimes we need to listen less to "they" and more to God and our own hearts. Some rules are meant to be broken.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Afternoon Off

Glee Live in Toronto. We were stage left, first balcony. Great seats directly beside the stage. Blackberry photo courtesy of sister Laura.

My fav character, Kurt (Chris Colfer), belts it out in a duet with Rachel (Lea Michele).  Photo courtesy of friend Mary who watched the show the day after.

I am still a little star struck. It was amazing seeing and hearing my favourite television characters in the flesh! Cast of Glee, you are a guilty pleasure! I laughed, danced and sang! I didn't cry, but I am pretty sure the love-struck teenager next to me did...point of clarification: not my sister, Laura.

Leaving Rylyn for about 8 hours was difficult. Not because I was worried about her care, but I know sometimes when she cries, it is because she wants me. Only me. We both survived and I had a day to remember with my sister. I didn't feel anxious until the show was over and we were en route home from Toronto on the GO Train. Mainly because I called home to Chris and could hear Ry crying in the background. Nonetheless, I felt like I accomplished something that day. I look forward to my next afternoon off just as much as I looked forward to coming home from this one.

Bible Reflections:

Philippians 4:5-7

New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-When anxious I am helped by a prayer my mom used to have hung in the bathroom. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." I memorized it young and recite it often. It is one of the wisest things my parents unknowingly taught me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mediocre Couponing

I have freely spent as much of our money as I comfortably can. My online shopping addiction has been replaced with a new hobby. Couponing. AND...this hobby not only allows me to spend money, but save it too!

As soon as I started telling people about my new endeavour, I kept getting asked "Have you seen the show Extreme Couponing?" To which my reply was, "No." What I learned about couponing I learned through reading the forums on a site called Smart Canucks. I did, however, end up watching a few episodes of Extreme Couponing to find out about what was all the hype. I learned more about what couponing is not from watching.

The tips I have found most useful are: get coupons, wait for a sale and buy in bulk (if you use the item regularly and can get multiple coupons). There is more to "couponing" than coupons. If you don't have coupons for an item, waiting for a sale and buying in bulk can save you tons too! This has been a main strategy for me because as a n00b my coupon stock is being built. On the other hand, Extreme Couponing taught me that couponing is NOT about buying things you don't need because it is free or a great deal. I have since come up with three categories of couponers.

Extreme couponers - glorified hoarders who have a beat-the-system mentality and addiction
Serious couponers* - as skilled as the extreme couponer and enjoys the "rush" of saving money, but follows unwritten rules of couponing by showing consideration for others (e.g. taking only what you need)
Mediocre couponers* - people like me who like to remain slightly under the radar, have a lot to learn, but are loving the experience and the savings
*both parties enjoy random acts of kindness (e.g. like printing off an extra coupon and sharing it with someone in the store or donating good deals to charities)

Below are some pictures of the deals I have caught over the past few weeks! Most of these ones don't even involve coupons!

My coupon accordion folder organized according to category and expiry date. The teacher in me had to add some stickers for decoration. Nerd and proud of it.
My considerably-smaller-than-an-Extreme-Couponer's-stockpile. Too bad you can't stockpile produce!  I promise my fridge looks much healthier! Although, there are cans of veggies and whole wheat pasta in the back. I didn't pay more than a $1 for anything other than the Nestea.
Proud of these deals. 24 pack of Pure Life $1.99 each and 12 pack of pop $2.99 each.
Best deal to date? Large tub of Philly on sale for $2.49, regular $6.49, plus $1 off coupon making it $1.49.

Bible Reflections:
1 Timothy 6:9-11

New Living Translation (NLT)
 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

-I am trying to remember that I am only a steward of what God has given me. This way of thinking makes it easier for me to rely on Him to meet my needs and to bless others.