Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I was perhaps feeling a little guilty about how many sweets I consumed the other day, so yesterday I reminded myself of a few key things:
  • when you're snacky, try a glass of water first
  • eat at 6 SET times a day, don't graze all day long
  • try more veggies as snacks, and less baking.    
I did fine most of the day, I'm happy to report... and lunch turned out to be a veggie feast!  I was also trying to clear out leftovers from the fridge, and had a big package of fresh spinach that didn't get used in it's intended recipe, so this is what I made:

Mmmm... a yummy green smoothie!  It's the first time I've tried something like this, and was pleasantly surprised.  I used frozen mixed berries, thawed just a bit, strawberry yogurt, 2/3 of a banana (keeping the rest for N's lunch) and a whole bunch of spinach.  I used the 1/3 spinach, 2/3 other stuff ratio.  I blended it, then tasted it, and because I couldn't taste the spinach AT ALL, I added more.  Not because I wanted to taste it, but because if I couldn't taste it, I should add more for the healthy factor.  Then a touch of milk to get it to the perfect consistency and voila!  Paired with leftover carrot salad and leftover asparagus, it was a slightly veggie heavy meal.  And really tasty.

Of course N wanted to try - he liked the first taste, so I poured a little into a bowl and spoon fed it like soup to go along with his banana.

Speaking of healthy, I sent an extra snack in M's lunch because she had a basketball game after school; when I asked what she'd like, she requested a bran muffin.  Yep, this recipe's a keeper!  I had one at my friend Suzanne's last week, requested the recipe and made it the next day.  I copied it from her fb message and popped it into Plan to Eat, and recipes there come with a share on blog button... how handy!  So here it is, click, done!:

Print Recipe

Apple Bran Muffins

Source: Suzanne Beckel
Course: Snacks and Sandwiches
Serves: 12


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 Tbsp margarine melted
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped peeled apple
  • 3/4 cup raisins


  1. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine second five ingredients then stir into liquid ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Stir apples and raisins into other mixture.
  4. Spoon into 12 greased or lined muffin cups.
  5. Bake at 400 for 17-23 minutes or until set. Cool & enjoy!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

New Coffee Cozies

Maddy's Fundraiser is still going strong!  Here are the latest coffee cozies (#5 is the only one left from the original batch!)  Let me know if you want a specific color and I'll see what I can do.

We're selling homemade magic bags ($12), coffee cozies ($5) and bean bags ($5 / 3) to raise money for Madeline's school trip to Wiinnipeg.  All the details of the fundraiser are here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking Ownership

For the last number years the idea has surfaced a few times about Sean buying into the business where he works.  One of the three owners was looking at retirement, and shares would be coming available.  When we had first seriously considered it, the timing was not right, and the financing wasn't coming together as easily as it should when God is behind it... you know how sometimes things just fall into place and sometimes there is just one difficulty after another?

A year and a half ago we started in on the process again, and after a few stalls and a few changes, we are pleased to let you know that Sean is now a part owner of Wilkinson Diesel Services!  He is still doing much of the same actual work as before, but now has the added responsibilities and perks of management / ownership.  I know Sean has always been an asset there; it'll be interesting to see where they are at in 5 / 10 years with him in this new role.  I'm very proud of him!

My favorite part of the story is God's timing in it all.  When we were deciding whether to grow our family or to stay content with one wonderful child, income was a factor, because if we did have a baby, I wanted to stay home.  If you chop your family income, you then have to chop out some of the extra spending, right?  We decided it would be worth it (and I had faith that things would work out... somehow!) and I LOVE that the final papers were signed and everything - including a new salary that more than makes up for my lost income - took effect at the end of last week.  Exactly when my mat leave finished.  Exactly at the last minute / no overlapping / perfect timing.  God's timing.  Perfect.

So now we have this:

 AND this:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Menu Planning: Solved!

I don't generally have a hard time with menu planning, except that there are only about a month's worth of meals we like and so juggling meals so we only eat them once a month sometimes takes skill.  My posts on menus are here, including our standard 4 week rotation.

Normally I do my planning Monday morning, but because of a Sunday afternoon Costco run, Sean was at the table with me Saturday night when I was making up the menu for the week.  He commented that there must be some online tool to keep your recipes in that would automatically generate a shopping list based on all the ingredients needed - he has some good thoughts, that man!  I'm sure there are a few, but there is one that I'm familiar with, and it's pretty slick.

It's called Plan to Eat, and it's got a place for all your recipes (adding them is even easy!), a drag and drop menu planner, and a grocery store assistant for your mobile.  I first heard about it through Kat at Inspired to Action - I've mentioned her before because of her Prayer Calendar for Mothers that I use every day (via twitter).  She had posted about it in the fall and I had checked it out then; I was impressed, but didn't feel I needed it at the time.  I still don't feel like I have a big need for change in this area, but I have been wondering how I can better organize the recipes we do use, and low and behold, Kat is this week offering a Meal Planning Boot Camp - walking people who want to use the site through it with tutorials and assignments and stuff.  I wanted to let you know about it in case it might be something you are needing to help organize and simplify your life.

The nitty gritty:  Using Plan to Eat costs $4.95 per month or $39 a year, but there is a free one month trial, and there is a coupon for 30% off on Kat's site.  So it's quite reasonable.

Check out Plan to Eat.

Check out the overview for the Meal Planning Boot Camp.  It's only day 2, so you can still jump in without having too much homework to catch up on!

Let me know if you jump on the wagon - I'll add you as a friend over there and check out your recipes.  :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Birthday!

Cakes decorated!
House decorated!

Presents out - just waiting for my friends!

We invited Anna and Ty - Nolan's two closest friends.

He liked the singing and that little bit of fire.

He got Dad's help to blow it out, and was disappointed when the fire was gone.

Ha ha - my own little car!

It's soft!

I squished it!

So strong!  This is how he treats other food, too.

What?  Eat it?  (Everything ELSE goes in his mouth...)

Try some.

Yep, I like that.

All done.  Nice beard.
So we had a fun little party with a couple of friends... that morphed into a houseful of family who came to help celebrate.  Thanks to all who came!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

How Does A Baby Grow?

Little by little - in a blink!

What a great day!  Today we celebrated our little man's first birthday - what a joy he is and we are thankful for the friends and family who helped us celebrate and who sent us messages.  It really does take a village to raise a child, and we're grateful for all of you who are a part of Nolan's world.

I'll post photos of the day once I've had a chance to see what we actually have on the camera - I turned it over to Madeline while I brought the cake out and Sean had Nolan; she took quite a few throughout the party, so I'm not sure what I'll find.  It's nice to not be not be the one behind the camera sometimes, especially when you know the event will still get covered!

For now, here are a bunch of my favorites - one from every two weeks all year long.  Enjoy!

brand new

two weeks

one month

one and a half months

two months

two and a half months

three months

three and a half months

four months

four and a half months

five months

five and a half months

six months

six and a half months

seven months

seven and a half months

eight months

eight and a half months

nine months

nine and a half months

ten months

ten and a half months

eleven months

eleven and a half months

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Maddy's Fundraiser

Madeline's class is going to Winnipeg in February for Festival du Voyageur, and they have asked parents to help with fundraising; planning steak nights and stuff like that.  This is my contribution.  If we raise more than what M needs, the rest will go to the class fund.

Maddy's Fundraiser

My Mom likes to sew, and she is offering the proceeds from all January sales
to go towards my class trip to Winnipeg.

Magic Bags: $12 Wheat filled microwavable bags, also great stored in the freezer.
Perfect for around the shoulders, or to throw in the foot of your bed.  18”x6” 

Coffee Cozies: $5

Bean Bags: $5 for set of 3.  Perfect for juggling and a million other games.

To Order:  Please email Carolyn at
You can pick colors and we will make arrangements to get them to you.

Thank You!!  

Added:  These are the coffee cozies currently in stock, and the options for magic bag covers; now it's easy peasy to order by number!!  There are more coffee cozies on the way in brighter fun colors, too.