Our First Real Tree

Two hours before I left for work yesterday, we made the impromptu decision to go out and get our Christmas tree. Luckily, there were two tree lots just down the road from us so it didn’t take long. It is our first real tree in our almost 5 years of marriage! We were all giddy with excitement bringing it into the house and breathing deeply the gorgeous smell of fresh pine.

When I returned home from work, I set about wrapping up some little books I bought them from a local thrift store that were in mint condition. There were also chocolate gold coins as per the tradition and a few candy canes to stir in our hot chocolate at breakfast this morning. This year also marks the second year running that we have had two NET team ladies staying in our home for this feast day! I cannot tell you the joy it brings me as their host mom to include them in our little traditions. It feels good and right to share what little we have with people who are giving of themselves to God’s beautiful ministry with young people. Our home has been truly blessed in having them under our roof!

The girls were very excited to see that St. Nicholas had paid them a visit and Lucy immediately asked when he might come again. She has come to a really fun age where she is beginning to remember the fun things our family celebrates. The smiles beaming from both of the girls faces keeps me feeling hopeful and grateful that we have decided to walk this road towards Christ in our family life. Did anyone else celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas? I would love to hear about it!

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My Little Ballerina

Today was Lucy’s last dance class for the fall session. She was really reluctant those first few weeks to go in by herself even though I was sitting out in the hall. I let her bring her puppy in with her which seemed to boost her bravery and helped her relax. Then she said puppy could stay with me while she went in. Another little step. My sweet little girl has grown so much in these last few months, expressing herself so well and asking such intelligent questions. She is always surprising me and reminding me to smile and let go.

I don’t know that we will sign her up for the winter session of dance classes yet but I am glad that we let her try it and watched as she grew to love running around with the girls in her class, waving ribbons and wearing her little tutu dress and ballet shoes. Is there anything sweeter??

There’s no way around it…I think she gets this face from me. Oh, how I love this girl.

I haven’t shared more than photos of our Advent preparations yet simply because there has been no time! We have a very busy household at the moment between both Ben and I working and the two NET team members we have staying with us until December 11th.

We have taken out all of our Advent/Christmas books as well as our Nativity set and our wreath. The little tree you see in the shot with Lucy is one my mom lent us for the year so the girls could decorate it with non-breakable ornaments. They have really enjoyed playing with it and I hope that it will all be out of their systems by the time we get our real tree next week. The likelyhood of that is small, I know, but a mama can wish.

I hope you are all having a very blessed Advent!

These Days

The longer I am gone from here, the harder I find it to come back. Not because my desire to blog has run dry, but because I don’t know where to start. I usually take blogging breaks because I feel like I have nothing to say, but by the time I’m ready to sit down and write, there is too much to say! I’ll just dive right in..

I started a new job about three weeks ago. I am working part time 3-4 nights a week at Starbucks. This has been wonderful for me. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be with people, have a need to get out of the house from time to time, and I love a good latte. I was a little nervous about going back to work, not having been in over 3 years but it’s turning out to be exactly what I need right now. I cried my fair share of insecure tears when leaving the house the first few nights but it has gotten easier. The beauty of it is that I don’t start until 6pm. This gives Ben time to get home from work, supper is on the table when he arrives, we get about 15-20 minutes together at the table and then I leave. I am thankful that he is such a great dad and I can trust that all is well with the girls when I go.

Speaking of leaving the girls with Ben for bath/bedtime, he has started doing something with them that my siblings and I did when we were little and I am so excited I just have to share. When we were kids my mom would get the bath ready, bring us into the bathroom, strip us down, and let us draw ALL over ourselves with markers. We thought this was the funniest thing ever! Then we would get into the tub and it would all just bead off and change the colour of the water. We use Crayola markers which are all washable I think. Try it sometime! The girls love it!

Halloween is quickly coming and we are excited to be giving out treats this year in our new neighborhood. We’ve also been invited to an All Saints party which I am really looking forward to. We never celebrated All Saints day when I was growing up, so it will help me to see what we can do each year to make it just as and more special than Halloween. Abigail is going to be a bumblebee and Lucy is going to be a princess if I can get her to leave her dress on for more than a minute. She really takes issue with any clothing with tags, or anything the slightest bit itchy. I am hoping that over time she won’t mind so much, because someone from Ben’s work just gave us four Princess dresses in really good nick.

We are in full Autumn mode in our kitchen these days. The meal plan was very successful for an entire month! We saved money, groceries were faster and so much less food went to waste. We kind of half stuck to it in October but my plan is to get back on our menu plan for the month of November since everyone (the girls especially) liked it. It will be helpful since we have two lovelies coming from the NET Infuse team to stay with us for a month. We are so excited to have them in our home and share our faith with them and vice versa.

Well, the girls are waking up so i’ve got to run but I will be back to post some pictures of my recent knitting adventures! I don’t know if anyone even comes here anymore, but either way, I will be back. Bless your day~

A Summer Salad

Last December we had the pleasure of hosting two missionaries serving with NET Canada for a time. They were two of the loveliest girls I have ever met, one from Australia and the other from Alberta. While serving with NET often times there will be someone who’s birthday doesn’t get celebrated because it happened before they came on the road or will happen after they’ve gone home. To make sure that everyone has a chance to be celebrated, they have Unbirthdays. It just so happened to be one of the girls unbirthdays the day they came to stay with us. As her host mom I was given the chance to get in on it and make her very favorite meal from home. I jumped at the chance, having once been on the road myself and wishing I had the comfort of familiar home cooked meals at times. I am so glad that I decided to make this meal, our girls loved it, Ben loved and so did I. Introducing a super simple, quick to put together, summery meal called….

Rice Salad

1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
1 x 19oz can Black Beans, strained and rinsed
2 x 12oz cans whole kernel corn, strained
2 red peppers, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
6 green onions chopped
1 teaspoon oil

I usually start by putting all of these ingredients (minus the oil) in the refrigerator in the morning. When you’re ready to make it, mix it all together except the rice which I cook in our rice cooker or you can cook in a pot of water for 12-14 minutes. Drain the rice and toss with the teaspoon of oil to keep it from all sticking together.

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2  garlic cloves
1 Heaping tablespoon chili powder ( I use 1 tsp)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup oil, either canola or olive should be fine

Whisk your dressing together and then pour into your salad. Toss and serve. *I made this with 1/2 cup of oil and I find it just as nice and it lowers the calories*

If your kids are anything like mine they will probably love this. They love all the little bits of different foods to pick out and eat. It’s also very colourful and could be served as a side to some BBQ goodness or brought along to a picnic or potluck.

Feast of St. Nicholas

Our girls, and NET girls, woke to a lovely surprise from St. Nicholas. Gold coins in their shoes and new books for Lucy and Abigail. I love this little tradition of ours in particular. We followed it up by a nice brunch of scrambled eggs, bacon, homemade bread, orange juice and tea. It was great having Ben with us for the day since it happened to be his usual day off.
Since starting this tradition last year I have come to really love this litte tradition of ours. I have heard from many families about how they celebrate this feast day. One of our NET girls comes from a family of 10 children and each year they receive an ornament with their initials on the back of it. After Christmas, their ornaments are kept in their own box for when they move away someday. Other people put treats in stockings, or buy each child new slippers and fill them with treats. No matter what way we celebrate it, the feast of St. Nicholas is by far one of my favorites. I would love to hear about how your family celebrates this special and generous Saint. Blessings to you!