Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Lunches

Ah, school lunches...  No, I'm not strapped for ideas yet - it's only been two days!  I am always open to hear what others are packing, though, so if you want to leave a comment with your great ideas, we'd all love to hear it.

Or do you have guidelines you want to share?  I go with a main (often supper leftovers or a sandwich), fruit, vegetable, dairy (cheese string or yogurt), and usually one other (crackers, granola bar, rice krispy cake).  I don't often send a drink, because they've got a water fountain handy (she keeps a water bottle at school to fill up), but once in a while I'll throw in a juice box or a crystal light or iced tea infusion to add some variety.

Do you send notes?  I found some Printable Lunch Box Jokes you can send for a laugh.  A little note tucked in a lunch is a wonderful treat to add some encouragement and a reminder of you in the middle of the day.  One day this summer I was getting some food ready to take a lunch to work, and M packed it in my bag for me.  Imagine my huge smile when I reached for some food and pulled out a scrap of paper with a happy face and "I love you, Mom" on it.  It works both ways.

Happy lunching!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"Inspire" literally means to "breathe in."  It is about being filled with something from the outside that animates and enlivens us inside.  Just as oxygen vitalizes our bodies, inspiration enlivens our souls.  In the beginning, God breathed life into earth-matter and the first humans were created.  Today, we can breathe in the Spirit and be filled.  Body-soul inspiration ultimately comes from God.  The deepest and longest-lasting inspiration comes from breathing in God himself, and breathing in the new things that God is doing in us and around us.  - Sam Chaise

I've been thinking about inspiration lately.  Partly because the latest Mosaic magazine (Canadian Baptist Ministries) has on the cover, "What Inspires You?"  The quote above is from an article in it by CBM's General Secretary, and has stuck with me over the last weeks.

The other reason I've been thinking about inspiration is Pinterest.  I've told you a bit about this...  and after being on that site for a week or so now, I can say that it really is inspiring.  I've seen all kinds of beautiful and fun things that I want to do or re-create.  The problem becomes when browsing the site uses all the time you could be using for actually creating.  I saw this quote on there:

"Thank you Pinterest for helping me feel creative even though I've really just been sitting at my computer for the last 3 hours."

I have been inspired to go downstairs to the studio and play more, but it is a balance.  Doing takes more energy than thinking about doing.  Doing really is better than simply collecting inspiration.  Making memories, making crafts, making the effort to go out with people... those are the things that are long term inspiring, and the things that will inspire others.

Just a few thoughts.  What is inspiring you today?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Stuff in the Kitchen

Once in a while I get a cookbook or food magazine out of the library, and copy recipes that look good.  I have a binder where I keep all my collected recipes; it holds the ones that have become regulars, and these possibilities.  At the beginning of last week, on menu making Monday, I flipped through to see if there was anything new I wanted to try, since I didn't want to get back to our default meal plans just yet (summer calls for different food than the regular year round recipes).

I found two that worked out great - Tuesday we had Feta Stuffed Chicken, which had a little bit of lite cream cheese mixed with tomato and basil feta in the middle - yummy!  Then Friday I made Nacho Mac 'N' Cheese, which was actually really good.  Taco seasoning was the main flavor, but it had a bit of pepper to give it some kick, too.  Red pepper and corn gave it some color and nice texture mixed in with the ground beef and gemelli pasta.  With two cups of cheese in it and some crushed tortilla chips for crunch on top, it was definitely one we'll make again.

Then Saturday, because I had unknowingly bought chicken breasts still on the bone, I simmered up some chicken vegetable soup with the bones.  We normally have soup and bagels Sunday after church, so today we had the homemade stuff (which was good but not amazing - I'll add more seasoning next time), and homemade scones.

Yes, I did some baking too - the scones are amazing and it's been too long since I've made them.  I also made a recipe for a Saturday morning treat that I found on Pinterest - it was not a healthy one, but oh so yummy.  Cinnamon Roll Cake - I didn't even keep the recipe, since it's way too fattening to make again.

That's been my adventures in the kitchen this past week - let me know if you want any of the recipes.

What something new did you make in the kitchen this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Belly Shots & a New Addition to the Shop!

A couple of shots of the little bump to show you - this first one I took last week, and the second one was on Sunday.  I like that it's got my family in the background...  Sean had golfed in the afternoon, and M and I got slurpees and walked around the lake, then watched a movie at home.  When Sean got back we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and spent the rest of the day outside.  Beautiful weather this week.

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I found some canvas in my studio that I bought a while ago to make a gift.  I used it all up and made some bags for the shop!  Sturdy canvas bags that are perfect for library books or the beach: I have two of the green & blue available, and another pink & black that has vertical stripes.  Only asking $8.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Right after I said yesterday that I didn't think I would jump into Pinterest just yet, I did.  I was looking around and thought I would bookmark something so I could put it on Pinterest when I did get it... so I just requested an invite, got it right away, and spent a relaxing night browsing.  Feel free to come have a look at my boards here:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our Week & a Few Links

Very actively playing Wii.
Today is an 'empty square' day - nothing on the calendar!  We slept in, Sean made brunch, we played a little frisbee dog on the Wii all together, and now he's out trying out the new shaft on his driver at the driving range.  We've kept the Wii going and later we'll head to the in-laws for supper.  I'm trying to get behind the camera today as I'm a little behind in my class - gotta get playing there.  It's a great day.

Our week has included:
  • Shopping for school supplies & school clothes
  • Sean switching cars around, putting the new one in the garage and taking the old one out to pasture at Sheldon's acreage
  • Madeline helping with VBS at church for Thursday and Friday
  • Sean getting 9 holes in with his brother
  • Schooling M in basketball at the school yard down the street
  • Date night - dinner out at Brown's Social House

I am a big fan of weekly planning;while I don't do too much other than Monday's weekly menu and groceries, I do  have lists for cleaning and M's chores.  Maybe once school starts we'll tidy those up and start to use them again.  Summer is pretty relaxed.  I bring this up because of a link on A Holy Experience today - a whole bunch of great printable planning helps.  Go check it out and maybe find something that would work for you.

I have spent a couple nights this week downstairs playing & making stuff.  Big Picture Classes, where I'm taking that camera class, has a free two week Festival of Ideas I signed up for, and I've actually made 4 of the 6 projects so far.  6x6 pages are so little and simple.  I'm adapting it to a 'being pregnant' theme, so that adds to the fun.  I'll post the finished product when I'm done.  (You can sign up for this until the 27th if you want to join in!)

Pinterest.  Have you checked this out yet?  I've killed an hour or so looking around on this site.  The link is to Elisha Snow's account - she's the one teaching the camera class I'm taking.  I don't know if I want to request an invite or not - it seems like it would be a great way to keep track of all the cool ideas I see online, but since I don't spend that much time surfing and looking, or even all that much time on the computer, I don't think I'll jump into it just yet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Shop

I've added a new page to this blog story - look up at the tags under the header - see it there?  On the end? 
My Shop. 
I wanted to put a link on here somewhere to information about the magic bags I make, since they just keep selling, and I am happy to have the word spread.  And since I'm usually making something for someone and tend to make in multiples, I often have goodies left over.  I will list them there for your shopping enjoyment.  At present, I just have the bags and a tie onesie listed there, but I am working on some canvas bags and should have those photographed and listed soon.
Come visit my shop!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mass Production: Magic Bags

My stash was getting low, so I picked up some new fabric last week, to have on hand if needed.  A few days later, I got an order from Winnipeg.  I'm sewing up a storm to have enough to take when we visit there next both for the order and to be able to leave a stash there, too.

Mass Production!

These are both so cute!  (Green Owls / Monsters)

The Circle Collection - flaps open and ready for the insides. (Green/Blue, Purple, White/Pink)

Sale ready.  (Dots, Pink Owls)
If you want any of these styles, let me know at followandlead (at) gmail (dot) com.  I'm always bringing in new fabrics, but nothing stays around too long!

A Day at the Races

Sean's not racing this year, but his brother got his Supra ready for it's first outing.  We met Sheldon and Lynsey early in the morning yesterday for the drive out to Swift Current and had a good day together.

Linking up with these fun folks today, for the first of probably many!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


This is what we did tonight on this beautiful sunny calm night.  It was perfect.

Our little town has a lake at its center, with the Legislative Building and gardens and marina surrounding it, and a path that is possibly the most popular place in the city for walking, running, biking, and rollerblading.  I've done all of those but skate - someday I'll do that, too.  This is the second time we've rented kayaks at the marina, but we'll do it again before summer's out.  I want to get M out there for her first time.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Spilling the Beans

I think I felt it.  I knew it would happen sometime this month, but these first few, you don't know if that's really what it is.  There have been a few times over the weekend where I wondered if that's what I was feeling...

What am I talking about?

This little jumper:

Yes, it's true.  I think I've finally told most people in person, so I can start filling you in on the details here now. I am at about 17 weeks, and due in the middle of January.  We have been married 4 1/2 years now and finally came to a point where we decided that yes, this is the route we want to go - our family of 3 has been great, but all three of us agree that a new little one around will be something we will never regret.

This is the other reason it was time to go through the storage rooms and all that baby stuff - not just for the garage sale!  I got rid of our old crib in the garage sale, but we've got a much newer one given to us already.  We have a stroller, a high chair and a booster seat for the car - I think the only other big ticket item we'll need is the car seat.  That and boy clothes if that's what it happens to be.  Oh, and a change table, I guess, and a snuggly that Dad won't be embarrassed to be seen in, an RESP, maybe a new toy or two, and boxes and boxes of diapers!  Other than that, babies don't need much, do they?

I really feel that for me, there is no greater job in this world than to raise up children who love God.  I look forward to being Mom to one more. 

I am very grateful to God for this amazing gift, and I am grateful that I get to share our news with you!  Linking up today with all the others counting the ways they're thankful.

Monday, August 01, 2011

It's NOT the same as Hoarding!

I've started collecting stuff from around the house, garage and shed for a garage sale this coming weekend.  There are a few of us doing it together at a friend's, which should be a good time.  I'm not really optimistic about making any money at it, but it will give me something to do while Sean is away golfing with the guys and M is away hanging out at Granny & Papa's.

The garage sale plus M being gone adds up to why this is a good week to empty, go through, and re-insulate the storage rooms off the sides of M's room.  I have to admit that I wasn't prepared for the mountain of clothing I'd see when I opened the first door.  We've lived in this house for 11 years now, and M has always been in that bedroom.  At some point over the years, she's gotten into that storage area, dug around in the boxes of her baby & little girl clothes and gone exploring.  Wow.  Well, it all had to come out anyway...  There are over a dozen boxes filled with all her baby stuff and clothes from newborn to maybe 4ish?  So much.  At first we kept it because we planned to have more, and then as those plans derailed, and got put on hold, we just never gave much thought to the boxes stacked in the awkward attic space.

These shots are from when I first emptied it out yesterday - I have made a bunch of progress and only have 4 or 5 boxes left to go through.  Lots of feeling nostalgia - I just want to hug my little two year old in that outfit and have her reach up and play with my hair the way she did...  Aw.  Lots of cute memories.  Also lots of "Ew - this is ugly - why would I have kept it in the first place since I most likely never put it on M?"  Those are for the garage sale boxes.  I'm about half and half keep and toss right now.  Why is there a keep pile?  Hmm... Maybe I'll post about that another day.