Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Bake Sale

"Mom, it's our bake sale tomorrow.  I meant to tell you before but I forgot."

I made Strawberries & Cream Pudding Cookies (found on pinterest) that afternoon, got mini cupcakes & sugar cookies baked in the evening, then iced the cupcakes & sugar cookies in the morning, and got them all to school for 10:15 in the morning.

I think that's a gold star for this mom this week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Small Group Prayer Night

Our small group is made up of four couples.  We all knew each other fairly well before, so have made an easy transition to being a bunch that enjoys our weekly time together.  We had talked about wanting to do a prayer night together, when our time wasn't filled with visiting and eating and watching a teaching video and discussing it and prayer, but simply prayer (...and food and visiting).

I wanted to share with you what we did; it's a great experience, doesn't take much to put together, and is a very worthwhile addition to what your small group does together.

We started with visiting and getting our coffees while everyone arrived and got the kids settled with the sitter, then met all together for a few instructions and an opening prayer.  We moved into a time of personal confession, getting our hearts right before God before we moved into praying for all the other areas.  As each one finished that, they moved on to the stations set up around the house.  We had two of our 8 missing, and with 7 stations, there was always a free one to move to, even though most were set up to allow more than one to be there. 

Each station was for a different area of life that we should be praying for.  We had:
  • Children
  • Marriages
  • Church
  • Family & Friends (including work relationships)
  • Stress
  • Current Events
  • World (Global Church and World Governments)

 Most stations had lists of "How to pray for..." that I found online.  The world station had a big atlas, and the current events station was at our computer, open to news sites.  The friends & family lists were mind maps I made using a free site online.

We came back together for our last half hour, and had a time of communion together.  Our teaching video last week was on communion and left us thinking we should do that together; this was the perfect timing and setting.  We had a loaf and juice and talked about what it represents and why we gather together - it was very casual, but very real - and then we kept eating of the small feast we had spread on the table.

It was a very good night.  Everyone seemed quite positive about the experience and want to do it again, even setting it up exactly the same.  I do have a few ideas to expand or tweak it, but they're right - it doesn't have to be re-invented each time.  I have done prayer rooms that had more hand-on involvement, but this way worked well for this type of group.  We may invite others to join us next time we do it, and we would be willing to set it up at the church for the whole church to participate at some point. 

I hope this sparks a desire in you to share a time like this with friends, and gives you an idea of how to go about it.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I picked the hope mug again this morning.

I showed you these before: the mugs we got from Mom & Dad for Christmas.  The plan was to swap them back out once the holidays were over, but they are still in the cupboard, mid April.  Outside still looks like January, so maybe once it's green we'll do that.

I've gotten into the habit, though, of picking the mug I use based on what I would like to see or feel in my life at the moment.  Often it's the green Joy mug, but the Hope mug sees a lot of use, too, and Peace....  It's such a nice addition to the morning coffee to have a calming thought inhaled in, affecting my whole being.

This week, this is what I hope:

that spring will come
that M will get through the teenage years without being too scarred by them
that she would be strong mentally & stand strong against the pressure of her peers
that Sean and his business would thrive
that N will sleep through the night one day and not need to nurse to sleep and I'll be able to leave him  knowing he's fine without me
that God will answer prayers for the salvation of friends and family
that I would hold on to joy; enjoy friends and have meaningful work both raising my children and otherwise that this marriage will only get stronger and last forever
that my light would shine
that I would be open to people and opportunities
that God's kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven
that we would find a dress for M's grad that she loves and that we are happy with
that Sean would find a good friend to spend time with now that one has moved away
that N's cold would be gone soon and not spread to his lungs or ears

I am so thankful that my hopes don't have to remain just hopes, but are prayers that the Answer hears.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Staycation

Sean went on a golf vacation last month, and while he was off enjoying the sun and hot temperatures in Nevada, M and I ended up having a bit of a stay-cation.  We didn't really plan it, but with all the one on one time (with Nolan...) instead of family time, it ended up being a very nice girls weekend.

We watched Wreck It Ralph.  Very cute.  M rated it an 8/10.  I might go as high as a 9.

We did pedicures.  We got out buckets to soak our feet, all the lotions and scrubbers... and she only wanted to paint her nails...  Ha.  But we both enjoyed it and ended up with pretty toes.

She went to a Regina Pats hockey game with a friend - it was the same night as youth group, so she missed that, but had fun doing something out of the ordinary.

We went shopping, and it was a success - I don't even remember if we got anything; a success in my books is keeping our expectations low and not swinging moodily if something catches our eyes and we can't get it...  Ah, teens.

On the food side of things, I made her favorite Cannelloni one night, and one night she cooked supper and it turned out great.  It was a recipe from my mom and has a note on it: "Don't make when Dad comes to visit!"  What is it with dads not liking Tuna Casserole???

We went to Sake, an all you can eat sushi place on Albert that M has wanted to take me to ever since she went with her Uncle.  Nolan had a bit of a melt down and was a little hard to corral, especially when he wanted to go meet the babies at another table, so it wasn't the best eating out experience, but she was happy to finally get there together.

And that was our little staycation - we all enjoyed our special few days, and were happy to be all back together again after.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

For Moms who are Tired

Parenting is hard.  So many decisions to be made, questions to answer, meals to be planned...  Where do you go for help?  What helps you keep sane and balanced?  I have a few places I find encouragement, and this is a collection of reminders that I wrote down in my journal and on my phone when I was struggling with being tired and frustrated.  I've appreciated having them there to read over when I need a refresher - it's like a little time out to get back on track - so I thought I'd share them.

To be a good mom, keep:
* Getting enough sleep. Nap first, then chores.
* Trying again. Each moment / decision/situation is another opportunity.
* Praying. Nothing else will keep you grounded in reality (usually that it's not really that bad) and nothing else gives that hope and peace.
* Anticipating. Plan ahead so you're not faced with decisions and have to say no (ie. after school snacks - have it ready!)
* Biting your tongue against the nagging.
* Firm, and expect things done well.
* Double checking until it's done right - not because you expect perfection, but because you are training life skills.
* Telling yourself to enjoy today.
* Kissing their daddy - let them see you enjoying each other.
* Reminding yourself that it's a good thing that they don't always get what they want.  They need that training for later when they want something they know is not right - they have to know that they can handle the disappointment and that they will get over it.
* Playing.  My stuff will wait - get on the floor and make eye contact.  That is love.  Yes, there is times when it works to work while they play beside me, but prioritize.

Remember that this stage is not forever.  "This too shall pass!"  DECIDE to enjoy each moment you can and see each trying bit as a bit - not as defining the whole day. Yes, he cries - he can't talk.  Yes, he's heavy - you GET to hold him! Yes he naps - Hooray!

To keep yourself grounded, remember:
* Know yourself.  Recognize when it's PMS and cut yourself some slack.
* There has to be some compromise.- when you choose to put the other person first, follow through cheerfully. Don't play the martyr.  Periodically re-evaluate and if the choice is still the same, strengthen your resolve to see it through.
* Stay positive.  Fight the negative thoughts - they have no place in your head.

It's kind of a random collection, but it's full of things that I need reminding of. 

I just got some books on motherhood by Sally Clarkson - has anyone read any of her stuff?  I read a bit of one from the library and thought it seemed like it would be a great purchase.  I'm hoping for encouragement and inspiration to overflow... 

Where do you get your encouragement?  How do you get yourself back on track when you feel 'off'?