Dec 31, 2011

Looking Back And Looking Forward

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It has been a wonderful year! 2011 was by far, one of my best years ever! Here's some of the highlights:



  • This has been a year of restoration, particularly in relationships. I have reconnected with a dear relative (and friend) who I thought I had lost forever. God healed us and has made our friendship stronger than ever.

  • Speaking of relationships, 2011 was a year of blossoming friendships. I've had many opportunities to enjoy the company of several amazing, inspiring women and I have been so blessed as a result of these friendships.


  • This year was the year of arts and crafts. A creative fervor erupted from from me! I made my own hospital gown, melted some crayons and went crazy with the Christmas crafts!

  • This was also a good year for reading. I read thirteen books this year (which is a record for me... I usually read about one book every two months).

  • 2011 was also a year of many volunteer opportunities. I have to credit a dear friend of mine for starting an awesome volunteer group... she organizes a variety of volunteer opportunities with numerous organizations and all I have to do is show up! 

So now I look forward to 2012. My resolution for the year is not my own, but rather borrowed from Johnathon Edwards:

"I will live for God."

That's the only resolution I need because living for God encompasses any other possible resolution I could ever think of.

Wishing you a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year! May 2012 shower you with blessings and love.

Deeply loved means greatly blessed. God wants to bless you exceedingly and abundantly above all that you ask or think. ~ Joseph Prince ~
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Dec 30, 2011

{this moment: little princess}

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Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



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Dec 29, 2011

Questions And Answers (For Children)

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Now that my daughter is almost four, I thought I would start the annual tradition of asking her a series of questions and then document her responses. Some of her responses made perfect sense and some made me laugh. Here is the 2012 edition of questions and answers....

What's your favourite colour?
Red.

If you could give Mommy any gift what would it be?
Underwear. (What a little goof.)

If you could give Daddy any gift what would it be?
Underarm deodorant. (Ha ha! Burn!)

What's your favourite game?
Stone Soup. (It's a cooperative matching game... and we play it regularly).

What's your favourite supper?
Salad. (Really? She eats her salads but I wouldn't have thought it was her favourite!)

What's your favourite dessert?
Cupcakes. (Indeed. She's a cupcake fiend!)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A princess in a castle. (Some friends recently bought her a princess dress-up set for Christmas, so we have now entered the princess phase.)

What is Mommy's job?
Paint the walls. (My hubby would like this one... he hates to paint.)

What is Daddy's job?
He just works so hard watching all the children.

What does Mommy always say to you?
Don't touch things that are not yours. (I didn't think I said it that much....)

What does Daddy always say to you?
Don't make bad choices. (He actually encourages her to make good choices... but it's all in how a child interprets things isn't it?)

Where's your favourite place to go?
Wal-Mart. (I cringed... she likes Wal-Mart more than parks or the lake?)

What does Mommy do very well?
She plays music.

What does Daddy do very well?
He catches me.

Who's your favourite person to play with?
My baby sister. (Awwww! Let's hope she still says that in a few years.)

I wonder how much these answers will change over the next year. Do you do annual Q & A's with your children?


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Dec 26, 2011

Our Christmas

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Well, Christmas this year wasn't as we had planned or expected. My husband got sick (we suspect food poisoning) so, many of our plans/traditions changed. Here are some photographic highlights from the past few days....

Looking at Christmas lights while sipping hot drinks and eating candy canes.

Visiting Grandma at her extended care facility and singing Christmas carols with her.
She has Alzheimer's and Dementia but she remembered the words to every carol.
Candlelight church service on Christmas Eve.

Matching pajamas!

Watching It's A Wonderful Life (our favourite Christmas movie).

Our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.

My husband woke up very sick on Christmas morning.

Waking up my oldest daughter on Christmas morning.

My daughter's gift to her little sister.

How my baby opens her gifts....

A tutu!

My daughter opened her toy food set and said,
"Let me read the instructions; Blah, blah, blah, blah blah."

A big mess.

A special toy from Nana & Papa.

Passed out.

It was a quiet Christmas. A little sad too. I cried my eyes out as I drove to my parent's house on Christmas day. I felt so sorry for my poor husband who spent most of his Christmas day alone.

How was your Christmas? I would love to hear how you spent your holidays!

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Dec 23, 2011

{this moment: sister fun}

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Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



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Dec 20, 2011

Christmas Is Almost Here!

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I'm ready. Are you? Christmas is almost here and I'm sure if we could illuminate the excitement in our house, it could be seen from outer space!

My daughter (who is almost four) anxiously eyes the calendar every day. She counts each day until Christmas and frequently reminds us that Christmas is almost here.

Yesterday she wrapped the gift she had picked out for her little sister. I loved watching her enjoy this project. Her little fingers skillfully used scissors to cut the lines I had drawn on the wrapping paper, she used all of her body to hold down the paper while taping the package closed and she spent over fifteen minutes picking the best stickers to put on the package.

So, the wrapping is done. Our Christmas cards and gifts have been mailed. We've watched most of our Christmas movies and I'm through with the Christmas baking (every year I make way too many treats and I try to cut back... but this year is no different, there are lots of cookies and homemade treats to be consumed).

Since I'm ready for Christmas, this week I'm going to bask in the glow of this beautiful festive season. I'm looking forward to lazy days, snuggling time and delighting in the beauty of the mild winter temperatures. But maybe, just maybe, I'll bake one more treat!

How are your Christmas preparations coming along?

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Dec 16, 2011

{this moment: big toe}

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Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



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Dec 14, 2011

A Dairy-Free Christmas: Chocolate Crunchies

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Delicious Dairy-Free Chocolate Crunchie Cookies #recipe #dairy-free

I found this recipe last week and made it my mission to make it dairy-free.

OH. MY. GOODNESS!

This chocolate nibbly bit is originally named Chocolate Cocaine because of it's highly addictive nature. I took it upon myself to rename it because I wouldn't feel comfortable with my four-year-old daughter running around telling people I feed her Chocolate Cocaine.

This recipe takes three ingredients. YES... only three and it has been moved into our Christmas Recipe Hall of Fame.

The Ingredients
1 package of dairy-free Chocolate Chips (I used the Enjoy Life brand)
4 tablespoons of soy butter (I used Wowbutter)
1 package of rippled potato chips










The Process
Melt chocolate chips and soy butter in a glass dish in the microwave (on HIGH for about 2 minutes).

While it's melting, smash up your potato chips into little bitty pieces.

Blend potato chips into the chocolate mixture.

Scoop into small muffin cup liners and refrigerate.

Enjoy!!!


*TIP*
The original recipe shows these little yummy bites in tiny truffle cups but I like the idea of eating two or three larger ones (less guilt involved as opposed to eating nine or ten tiny ones) but these treats can be whatever size you choose! 



Have you seen my other Dairy-Free Christmas recipes?




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Dec 12, 2011

It's My Birthday And I Have A Gift For You!

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Well, today is my birthday. What can I write about on my birthday? My wishes for the year? My goals for the year? Some random facts about me? As I pondered this, I thought I have a lot to be thankful for... so here is a list of the blessings in my life right now.

My God, Lord and Saviour... Jesus Christ.

My husband. He's the love of my life. He's funny, cute, generous, creative, kind-hearted and sweet. He is amazing and I love him more with every day that passes.

My little girls! Every day I marvel at what extraordinary little spirits they are!

My Mom, Dad and little brother. Not only am I blessed to have a family that lives close to me but they are a constant source of love and support. I have a mom who shares my quirky sense of humour, a dad who is my spiritual counsellor and a brother who is smart, funny and great to chat with! We enjoy each other's love and counsel and we get along fabulously! What else could I ask for?!

My in-laws. Now how many people can say that!? I have a mother-in-law who I can call and chat to for hours. A father-in-law who will jump to our aid in a flash whether the car battery is dead or something is in need of repair. I have a sister-in-law who is amazing... she is one of the most generous, sweetest people I know! Then there's my two brother-in-laws, they are funny, kind, loving and always make our family gatherings enjoyable. Lastly, there's my two nieces who will play hide and seek with my little girl, make cupcakes for special occasions and always shower the family with cards, drawings and creative little gifts.

The rest of my family. I have a grandfather and two grandmothers who are alive and well. They remind me that life is to be treasured and they give me a deeper sense of family. The roots from which I was born and the history that accompanies it. I also have aunts and uncles and cousins who are a big part of my life! Whether we keep in contact by e-mail, by social networking websites, by text messages, or the occasional visit, they are ever-present in my life.

My friends. I used to be a one friend type of gal... but in recent years I have been blessed with numerous beautiful, inspiring and amazing friends. Whether we text back and forth all day, meet up for weekly yoga classes, join forces for volunteer work or go out to enjoy Indian food, they are a daily reminder of how great my life is!

My health.

My home. It is cozy, warm and full of love.

My job. Even though I'm currently on maternity leave, my job is a huge blessing! I get to be surrounded by the most brilliant, inspiring people all day long (and I'm not just talking about my coworkers here). I get to work with children... and through my work I get glimpses of a beautiful and bright future.

My country. There is a lot of grief and disparity in this world. I feel so blessed to live in a country that provides so much. Canada is beautiful... I haven't seen all of it from coast to coast but I marvel in the majesty of our country! The Rocky Mountains, the sea shores, the sprawling prairies, our nation's capital... we truly have a beautiful country. Then there's the freedom to practice my religion, emotional and physical safety, adequate and affordable health care and a year-long maternity leave! I am proud to be a Canadian!

My blog and you... my readers. It's been over a year since I started this blogging adventure and I'm so grateful that I'm able to have this wonderful creative outlet. I am thankful for the people who take the time to read my postings and I'm especially thankful for the comments I get (it's like a gift that I can't wait to open when I see that someone has commented on a posting)!


A Gift For You!
Since I am so blessed, I feel I need to pass the blessings on. A lovely friend of mine (thanks Natalie) recently shared a link to a website which has six free Christmas/worship songs by six amazing, talented artists. This fantastic download also includes the lyric and chord sheets (in case you feel like singing/playing along). You can preview the songs before downloading them and you can also read the biographies of these amazing artists. Check it out... you won't be disappointed!

Click the EP cover to visit their website


**Note: I get no compensation for providing this link. I'm just the type of gal who can't resist sharing a wonderful "find" such as this one!**



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Dec 10, 2011

A Nifty Way To Display Christmas Cards

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So once again Pinterest lured me in and promised me much crafty bliss. Here is a recent project... a clothespin wreath to display all of those beautiful Christmas cards that come in the mail during the holiday season!

Gwenny Penny has a complete tutorial on how to make a clothespin wreath.

This is what mine looks like:


The story??? I wanted to involve my daughter in this project, so she helped me with the tedious fun task of painting all of the clothespins. Much to my dismay, after painting a bag of clothespins, I quickly realized that spray painting them would yield the best results. However, there was no way I was going to spray paint these things in the dead of winter! So I made it au natural... and you know what, I kind of like it!

I can't wait to see what the wreath looks like when it's stuffed full of cards!


**Note**
 Did you notice the Ewok Nativity Scene card? No, you can't find it in the stores... it was a card that was lovingly crafted by my little brother several years ago. I have to display it every year because it always makes me laugh.

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Dec 9, 2011

{this moment: serenade}

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Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


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Dec 8, 2011

She Lost Her Website!

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One of the benefits of the blogging world is the many bloggy friends you make. I have a dear blogger buddy who lost her domain name and had to move her website to a new domain! If you were a previous follower of Just Another Mom Blog (Canadianmama) and were wondering where she went to, you can now find her here! AND if you didn't follow her before, take a moment to check out her blog (she's one awesome lady and a fun blogger)!






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Dec 7, 2011

I Blame The Adults

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Have you seen this video? It made me feel sick. It made me cry.
Bullying has been in the headlines for many years now... but when is it going to stop? I blame the adults. Yes, I do.
  • I blame the teachers who are so busy, they have no idea what's going on behind their backs.
  • I blame the lunch supervisors who don't know what to look for.
  • I blame the parents who are too busy to know that their child is a bully or being bullied.
  • I blame the parents who allow their children to engage in online activity but rarely monitor it.
  • I blame the adults who are too afraid to be an advocate and a voice for the children in their lives.
  • I blame the adults who have neglected to teach children the appropriate way to express themselves.
  • I blame the adults who advise children wrongly when bullying is brought to their attention.
  • I blame the adults who are poor role models for children... the ones who participate in slander and gossip.
  • I blame the adults who don't take a strong stand against bullying.
  • I blame the adults and policy-makers who do not put enough effort and funding into anti-bullying strategies and programs.
  • I blame the adults who have neglected to give children a strong moral and spiritual compass.

I wish I could give this boy a hug and show him that he is loved... that he is worthy... that he is special and that he is a gift and a blessing to others. But all I can do is take the time to encourage the adults out there to be responsible... to look for signs of bullying and to deal with it swiftly and effectively. The children, our children, your children, are counting on you... they shouldn't have to make a video like this to get our attention.


Anti-Bullying Websites


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Dec 6, 2011

What My Daughter Wants For Christmas

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I thought this was a post-it-note "worthy" posting. Enjoy!










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Dec 4, 2011

Take A Moment... And Listen

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Merry Christmas !

As a Christian woman, the Christmas season is especially exciting for me. I am eagerly anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. I'm eager to partake in the many festivities and I enjoy the varied preparations for this important day. There are decorations to be made, cookies to be baked, cards to address, presents to buy and packages to be mailed.

However, the other day I had a realization... the very joy and excitement of this season can also distract from the true essence of why we're celebrating it in the first place! There are two important lessons to be learned from Luke 10:39-42....

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Serve With A Joyful Heart
This scripture isn't telling us that serving others is a waste of time. There is a time for everything... including serving others. However, it's important to serve with a joyful heart. Martha demonstrated resentment towards her sister while she was serving the Lord and his disciples. The Lord was quick to correct her and let her know that Mary was doing what she needed to do.

If you find yourself resentful about serving others then maybe it's not your time to serve. Perhaps you need to spend some time talking and listening to God. We need to be full before we give fully to others. Take some time to fill yourself with the Lord's love and grace... then go out and serve others. Your efforts will be much more enjoyable and blessed.

Don't Be Distracted
The other lesson in this scripture is; don't be distracted by all the busyness of life. God does not care if your gifts are neatly wrapped, or if you made three casseroles for Christmas dinner. He does not care if you have decorated every corner of your house or if you have addressed all your Christmas cards before December 1st. He wants you to open your ears, your heart and your spirit. He wants you to listen to him... not just now, not just during the Christmas season... but all of the time.

So I want to encourage you to take a moment... fall to the Lord's feet... and listen to him. With open ears and an open heart, his message is clear and his direction... profound.



Photo Credit
Photo by babasteve found in the Creative Commons on Flickr.

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Dec 2, 2011

{this moment: two cute}

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Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.





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Dec 1, 2011

Let The Festivities Begin!

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Well, it's finally December 1st... a big day in our house.

I started the day by making pancakes and hot cocoa as a special treat for my little girl. She opened her first Christmas book and put the first link on her countdown to Christmas chain.

There are so many activities to enjoy during the month of December! I'm doing some special charity work this month; my church will be having it's annual Christmas musical; my brother and I celebrate our birthdays in the month of December and then there's all the activities and gatherings that come with Christmas.

Regardless of how busy we are, my husband and I celebrate the holiday season by watching all of our favourite Christmas shows. Sometimes we'll drink soy nog, eat oranges and snuggle up while watching one of our movies and sometimes we sit on the floor wrapping Christmas gifts while watching a Christmas television special.

We have many holiday movies that we watch but here's some of our favourites:

We usually kick-off the annual Christmas movie marathon with Love Actually. I absolutely adore this movie and it's packed with Christmas spirit and love!


Then there's the animated classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I don't know what I love most... the Grinch's complete 360 or the perfectly delicious narration by Boris Karloff!


Another animated classic... A Charlie Brown Christmas. As a little girl, I recall watching this show every year. I will never tire of the Peanuts gang dancing their crazy dances to Schroeder's piano playing (and his multiple "versions" of Jungle Bells always brings a smile to my face)!

 

My absolute favourite for festive laughs... National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Admit it... there's a little bit of Clark Griswold in all of us.


Another awesome Christmas comedy... A Christmas Story. I've watched this movie so many times, I can recite the lines along with it. So many comical moments in this movie! I love Ralphie's earnest attempts to convince his parents that he needs a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.  


Of course there's the real Christmas story... The Nativity. This is one of the best biblical films I've ever seen. It's stunning, captivating and beautifully captures the spirit of Christmas.


I cry every time that I watch the Family Man. A Christmas story, a love story... I love this movie.


Then there's my favourite movie of all time (not just of the Christmas season). Always a tear-jerker and reserved for the coveted Christmas Eve or Christmas Day viewing spot... It's A Wonderful Life. My husband and I share our love for this film and it is a vital part of our Christmas traditions. 

Of course there's many other films and television shows in our Christmas viewing season. Do you have any favourite holiday movies?



 
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