Saturday, April 27, 2013


Blogger has been acting weird, and I have not been able to upload pics for 2 days. So then I tried today using IE instead of Firefox, and I am able. Dunno. Discovered that the blog doesn't look as good on IE as it does on Firefox. Wish I was better at the technical stuff - but alas, just use Firefox, is the moral of that story.

I updated my header for a spring time feel, and took the pics myself of flowers in my yard! I was slightly impressed at my artistic photography skills:-) And my happy yellow door seemed to fit right in too!

So we had a busy day, baseball game this morning, and a birthday party this afternoon. It was a really  cute Star Wars themed party, and the kids had so much fun! Lisa (the mom) made these Jedi robes for all the kids and everything.
My Jedi Knight

Light sabre fights!

Happy Birthday Buddy!
Brian had to work today, and was up and out the door before 7am. He returned home while we were at the party - and took a nap. He wants to go hang out with friends tonight and watch the UFC fight on tv, which doesn't start until 11pm, or something. So a nap is necessary to facilitate that craziness. Instead of texting me, or setting his alarm - or leaving me a regular note - he left me a note he was for sure I'd find...on facebook. Haha!! Not even posted on my wall, just a note in the search box. Funny boy.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sun Care

I get asked a lot, actually, why we aren't more tan, living where we live.

And I say, have you SEEN the trees surrounding my house? We have 24/7 shade:-)

In all seriousness, though, this post can serve as your public service announcement. Sunscreen is bad for you. Conventional sunscreen, like you buy at any and all stores...causes cancer? Well, I won't go so far as to say that, because I can't personally prove it, but google it. If you love free radical cells spinning out of control (cancer causing), lather up! It is not healthy for your body, not one little bit.

I take my chances against the sun, than those chemicals on my body, and especially on my kids, any day of the week. I'll end my lecture, but for reals, do some research. Sunscreen is scary business.

I have never put conventional sunscreens on my kids - although it's happened - because other people own it and put it on them when I'm not looking, but I try to avoid it, and try to subtly share my feelings on the subject, and will share my alternatives with you.

We choose our sun light hours carefully. We don't go to the beach from 10am to 2pm. Not unless we are forced to, really (by other people, a party to attend etc). We go to the beach usually from 4pm to sundown. The sun is past it's peak, and you will (I am evidence of this) not even tan if you do this:-)

If we have to go out during peak hours, we wear tees over bathing suits, and hats. When going "after sun hours" we don't bother with those extra measures, or even sunscreen at all, unless it's unusually sunny past 4pm.

I don't mind the kids getting a little sun on their faces. Not a burn, but a tan. Like I said, I'll take my chances with the sun over all the man-made chemicals any day, using wisdom of course. But when the sun is really really bright, and I'm worried about getting a little pink...

I do have a sunscreen that I like. I really suggest going to Badger Balm's website and click on the Education tab. There is enough info on there to keep you busy for hours! Anyway, the sunscreen is natural. Uncoated non-nano zinc oxide is the only active ingredient. Which means the zinc oxide particles are larger than 100nm...this means it is not absorbed through the skin, the way even other "organic" or natural sunscreens are. Read about that here.

The sunscreen needs to be rubbed in a little more/longer than conventional ones, and will not completely disappear - it's a little white looking. Benefit, when swimming, you can see when you need to reapply. Benefit, you're doing all you can to ensure the health and safety of your kids and their futures. Un-benefit, perhaps you don't look like the coolest cat on the block? But who cares about that. Your bodies lack of free radical cells is thanks enough for your geeky sacrifice.

The non active ingredients are all natural as well - all things you have heard of and can pronounce, like olive oil and jojoba oil
I love the stick for quick face applications throughout the summer days!
 Other than the sacrifice of a thin "whiteness" to your skin when wearing this, and really, if you rub it in real good, it's not noticeable, this sunscreen works like a charm. You will be protected from the sun and not get the burns we try to avoid.
 Another terrible chemical concoction is bug spray. And this one is a bit harder to handle - it's hard to find an organic, non toxic bug spray that actually works!! My kids (Kenna especially) are mosquito magnets. I have found this spray to be very comparable to conventional sprays (without Deet). It's all natural and smells amazing. The ingredients list is long, as you can see, but it's entirely plant based, and all things that you can pronounce. No chemical compositions at all. I'm almost out of it, and need to order more. The smell is addicting, though, we love it:-)

 So there is my 2c on the subject, with my fave products that do a smashing job while not sacrificing your health in any way. Sold!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heart Song

Check out these adorable kids on youtube. Lennon & Maisy. They are incredible, and the fact that they are from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area - Clairmont specifically) makes them even cooler, of course! Check out all their videos on youtube they are truly talented girls!! I love listening to them!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sock Boxing & Wasp

Yesterday was a fun day, and a weird "first"...Grey got stung by a wasp, which is something the other two have yet to experience. We were at our pastors home for lunch, and he has a bit of a "hobby farm" kind of yard/grounds, so he took the kids out to show them seems the wasp flew into Grey shirt collar area, and likely only stung him in an effort to escape his entrapment. Grey was very brave, barely cried for a second, and thankfully, it didn't swell (only got a little red), or require antihistamines or anything. Whew! Braving life in the country like a champ!
Today Grey grabbed some folded socks out of the laundry and put them on his he could box, he says:-) It was simply adorable.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Music Show

I neglected to post the concert we got in Canada. I guess, actually, it was the 2nd Annual Music Show put on by the girls. Presenting, Katie, Amber & Kenna...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Turning 30...

It has been 30 years.

30 years today, since my heart was changed forevermore. It's my birthday actually! Not my physical one, but the more important one. Bodies are temporary, and while we celebrate them cheerfully, they fail us, and leave us. But our inner most being was created to never fail us. It will be - always. A transformation of the spirit is required, so that as we pass from this temporary world, into the eternal one, we are assured that we will be our Lord.

In March, I had to write out my testimony as part of a Sunday School class.

I will share with you some of the questions, and my answers to them. As a way of commemorating 30 years of growth, I suppose.

If you are unsure of how you would answer these questions, or if you are unsure if your answer will "count" when you die - feel free to contact me and we can talk about it. Keeping tabs on our lives is immensely important, but keeping tabs on our spiritual lives, goes beyond that. It bears weight of eternal significance.

Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that you are going to Heaven, or is this something you are still working on?
I have come to this place, yes. (more details given in conversion story below). I am certain that the Lord has saved me, however, I am also determined like Paul, to finish the race, well run. So while I am certain of my eternal salvation, I will be taking up my cross daily, working out my daily “salvation” through the work of the Holy Spirit until the day I die.

Suppose you died tonight and stood at Heaven’s gate and cried “Lord, let me in!” then, God looked at you and replied, “Why should I let YOU in?” What, then, would be your answer?
I would answer Him, "Lord, here stands your child". According to His Word, all who ask and believe will receive the gift of eternal life, and I have done so. On this merit alone – that I am a child of Gods – should entry be permitted. My sins were paid for in full by the blood of Jesus, and so entry to eternity with Him depends solely on my acceptance of His precious gift of salvation.

When were you “born again”?
April 17, 1983 – I was 4 years old, and that day was a Sunday. I distinctly remember a disturbing (to me) Sunday school lesson given that very day about sin and hell. It bothered me and I felt it was something to be taken care of right away. I personally remember praying with both by parents, on their bed to receive Christ. My mom wrote in my baby book some details I did not recall about the day – “asked mommy if she could invite Jesus into her heart. We talked about it all to make sure she understood and then she prayed. Afterwards she told Brent (younger brother) about it and said “I asked Jesus to come into my heart and he zipped right in before I finished praying” :-) . I understand now, as I understood then, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin, for all time. I accept and believe by faith that He has said that eternal life is freely offered to all who believe and accept His gift.

How did you come to know the Lord as your personal Saviour?
(Note: I was raised in a loving Christian home) After my conversion experience, which I believe was genuine – although I was young - I experienced some doubt through my childhood years from time to time– Had I really meant it? Why do I still do bad things? If I say I will follow Jesus completely, won’t He make me a missionary to Africa? (something I was deathly afraid of as a child for some reason:-) These thoughts plagued me to some extent as I learned and grew in my faith, I really was sure that that Jesus had saved me, but I was bothered I suppose (and rightly so) over His lack of Lordship in my young life. When I was about 14 years old I reached a turning point. A point of re-commitment and dedication. Yes, I believed in the free gift of salvation offered to all through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and I’d accepted that years ago. Yes, I believed that the work of the Holy Spirit was saving me – not only was I saved and heaven bound, but saved from daily “hells” I would encounter, by way of my own sins, as I submitted to the Lord, and allowed His Life to change mine, every day. I didn’t believe these things because I had been told to, or because I was forced into it somehow by a positive peer pressure (lots of solid Christian influence in my life). I believed these things because I had experienced them. I had seen them. I had wrestled with spiritual things and come to really know what I believed and why. My simple and childhood faith matured to a point where I could see the Lord’s hand in my life. It was not “my parents faith” it was mine. I was convicted to follow the Lord by the example of baptism, something I had previously rejected the thought of, based on the fact that I would have to give a personal testimony of my faith, and I had not wanted to speak in public. I was baptized by immersion on 9/5/93 and took to heart my commitment – to follow the Lord and to identify with Him – to make Him my Lord in all things, and to trust Him completely to conform my heart to His own, to allow His Life to flow through mine. I no longer feared such things as being called off to missions, and began to see the evidence, peace and fruit of a heart given to seeking after the Lord.

What Bible verses do you base your salvation on?
This is a list of only a few...
John 3:16-18 - For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Do you consider yourself a growing Christian?
I love a quote by George Mueller “If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time.” I have seen my faith stretched and grown in so many ways over the past 30 years that I have been in Christ. I worry, I wonder, I hope, I pray, and in hindsight, I have seen so clearly His loving hand of mercy, provision, and guidance that I have almost come to anticipate the “worrisome” as an adventure. I have never once been left un-cared for, and this boosts my faith greatly. I am on a constant life mission of sorts – to be teachable, to learn, to grow, to allow myself to be stretched and let the peace of God, which passes all human understanding regardless of circumstance, rule in my heart. I believe that humility is required for growth and pride hinders much of what God hopes to do in my life. Getting “me” out of the way, and being humble enough to acknowledge that I can’t do anything out of my natural giftings. I’ve tried and failed, and will try and fail again I’m sure. I’ve come to realize/am coming to realize that God doesn’t need me, and all the things that “make me so great” – and yet He chooses me anyway. I would consider myself growing, still, because I daily endeavor to seek the Lord and allow Him to change me, to convict sin, and to bring revelation of all I am and all I have in Him.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Catch Up

Random pics...
First game, baseball ready! They are the Tigers this year.

Happy birthday Uncle Dale!

May - this is what happens when you set up in her chair while you're still cooking lunch. Sometimes morning naps are more necessary than she'd like to think;-)
Riding two-wheelers!

ABC song

Grey's ABC song. It's really kinda cute:-)

Pollen Season

Its that time of the year...when everything we see is covered in fluorescent yellow. And sunny rain showers give us yellow puddles! It really is an amazing sight, I'm still not used to this yearly invasion of yellow!

Going Gluten

That is what my kids call it. Gluten. Is this gluten? They don't seem to get that the free part of the sentence is really what makes it work. So, anyway, it's not been as awful as I'd thought it would be...

I've had many ask why I decided to do it...(Brooks is currently the only one going gf, and the only child that I think needed to). Basically, I'm trying to see if it works...see, Brooks was born crabby. I thought he had colic. Now I have another suspicion. He was just being himself. Whining, crying, and complaining are his go-to m.o. He also has zero tolerance for pain in any form. So he is constantly complaining that his tummy hurts. I literally cannot tell if it actually hurts, or if that is just the way you feel when you need to go to the bathroom. The child, naturally, has no idea. It's all pain to him.

He also (at the risk of over-sharing), is always loose, in the poop department. I always attributed this to the fact that we (especially he) eats tons of fruits, veggies, and oatmeal etc. Talking with Brian about some of Brian's health complication a month ago or so, I just came to the thought...with other health issues on Brian's side of the family, it's possible that Brooks is allergic to something. Somehow gluten just seemed like the natural "first thing" to eliminate as a trial.

So, it's not been as hard as I thought it would be. This. is largely due to the fact that most of the foods (dinners) we eat are naturally gluten free (chicken, rice, veggies.

I actually think that it's working for him. When he's had a cheat or two, he's in the bathroom with pain in his tummy again. It's been interesting! So I'm going to keep him gf at least until the summer, and then perhaps experiment a little with his tolerance levels. For example if there is no wheat in the product itself, but they say it may contain gluten, because of the warehouse its made in etc...perhaps he'll be able to tolerate those scant "maybe" amounts in foods. Or perhaps not. We'll see.

I've had people inquire as to taste and cost. No, nothing tastes better when it's gf. If it tasted better made with xyz substitute flours, than it would be made like that! We all like "better"! What you can say is, it tastes good, for gluten free. And that is the truth. If you stop comparing, it's quite ok. It is not an exact replication of regular foods, but it's tasty and edible (more than taste, I've noticed texture is an issue for me). The skinny on that is - Brooks is a kid, and not overly picky about that stuff yet. He hasn't had a lifetime of awesome pancakes to really tell the difference, and so far, he has not issued a single complaint. I taste/eat a small portion of everything I serve him, at least once, just to make sure it's good and not totally gross.

Cost. - I flat out could NOT afford to feed all 5 of us gf, if we kept similar diets, menus and foods on the table at each meal. Anything gf is packaged at half the size. The package is half the size of "normal" food, and each thing inside the package is also half the size of it's "normal" equivalent. The cost is more than double, often triple or more for that tiny package.

Here are the subs that I have made that are working for us quite nicely!
These cookies taste very good! I would say the main difference between is that the aftertaste texture (crumbs left in your mouth after chewing and swallowing) is more "mealy/grainy" than a Chips Ahoy. They run you about $5 for this 8.6oz package. (Chips Ahoy is typically a 14oz pkg, to give you an idea). Not an everyday snack, but I keep on hand for something special. We had a cookie fellowship at church - put 5 of these into a ziploc in my purse, and that was his food for the evening.

This mini bread is Udi's brand. We've heard it's the best, and its pretty good. The loaf is miniature, and the slices are about half the size of store bought sandwich bread. You get 12 slices (including the end pcs:-/) per loaf, for 4.99.

You can make 6 mini sandwiches with this little loaf! It's soft and tastes fine. The aftertaste, as with the cookies, is a little more "mealy" than normal bread, all in all, if you want bread, you'll be able to eat this as a substitute with no problem

These cake mixes run just over $5 per. I've made a vanilla one so far, and it was good. Heavier and more dense than "normal", but acceptable.

We get this corn pasta from Trader Joe's, which means the corn is not GMO. Brooks and I like it better than the rice pasta.

Xanthan gum. It's used as a thickener, and is added to gf flours etc for baking. For our St Patty's Day meal, I made a cheese sauce to go over the cabbage...I thickened it with this, instead of flour, like I normally would. So we all enjoyed a gf cheese sauce, and there was no difference at all.

16oz of gf flour for 4.99. So far, I've only made pancakes with it. Using my normal family recipe, and subbing out the flour (using less milk too), I make 18 gf pancakes, and freeze them for future meals for Brooks. I've heard there are decent gf pancake mixes out there, but have yet to try. This works for now, and is easy!

When I took Brooks off gluten, I also took him off oats. No more of my homemade granola bars for him, or oatmeal for breakfast. I will eventually reintroduce the oats, and bought these ones, guaranteed to be gf. It was 6.49 for this small bag. I've heard Quaker oats are also gf, although not certified as such, so that will be one of the things I test him on when I reintroduce "possible" gf products. He will be limited in his oatmeal consumption, until I am sure he's ok with them.
My friend Teresa showed me how she makes this dough. She adds dried herbs (basil) to the dough, and that really makes it! Using this pizza crust, and freezing the remainders for future meals works well. We just pull out and reheat a couple slices per meal. So while these flours, etc, are not cheap, at least they last well, since he doesn't eat a lot!

At Uncle Dale's birthday party. We all had a Boston Creme Cake, and we bought Brooks a few macaroons, which are naturally gluten free, and he loved them!
That's all I've had to do, so far. Everything else we eat, he can eat. So not terrible, right?! Mostly it's just planning ahead and making sure to bring a few snacks if we go out. For breakfasts - Chobani yogurt and Chex are gf!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Parenting At Its Finest

On the pain threshold scale, 10 being very tolerant, and 0 being not at all...Brooks is a negative 15. I know this about him.

So when I hear "you have to come outside, Brooks is hurt", I roll my eyes and say "tell him to come here"

"He can't. He's hurt"

"He can. Tell him I want to see him"

"No, he actually can't walk. He has a huge splinter, he stepped on this prickly bush and it really hurts"

"Well, he'll figure it out"

a few minutes later...

the lovely 12 year old concerned friend says "He really can't walk"

So I go out into the pitch black of night, and shout into the woods "Brooks! What's wrong?!"

(Weeping loudly) "I can't walk! My foot hurts so bad!"

"Just come here! (I can't!), Just hop! (I can't!), Well, can't you....argh!" I trudge into the bush, find him sitting on a tree stump, pick him up, lug his 50 pound body into the's only once we get right up on the house that I can actually see anything, and I'm thinking he looks ok...

I plunk him on a stool and grab his foot - OW OW OW. What is even wrong? MY FOOT HUUUUURTS. Someone hands me a pair of tweezers, and I look at the foot. I needed a microscope. Where?


Enough. Not another sound. I can't even see anything.

Oh, well, wouldn't you know it, there was a splinter present. Smaller than a grain of sand, but there none the less. His body was literally quivering in pain as I extracted the thing, which required only barely even touching the surface of the skin.

"Have self control and calm down" He was apparently unable. Now that the magnificent splinter was gone, I marched him to the bathroom to scrub up his filthy feet (flip flops in the country = bad idea).

As the tub is filling/warming, and he is STILL unable to stop crying - my annoyance heightens.

"You listen to me. If you ever make me come and get you again, saying you literally cannot walk, and I get to you, and I see that your foot is still attached to your leg, I will cut it off myself. Is that clear?"

Empty threats, they don't get any better than that, folks. That is solid gold right there. By his continual weeping and wailing, and the obvious tone of anger/annoyance in my voice...I think he may have actually believed me.

Do as I say. Not as I do:-D

Sunshine Awards

I'll say this is a first - I was nominated for an award! I was nominated by Lauren, and actually was surprised by that. Only because I don't really consider myself  "a blogger".

"The Sunshine Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. The receivers of the Sunshine Award are bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogsphere"

I guess when I think about "bloggers" I think about ad space down the columns, giveaways, promotion/self-promotion, collaborations with other super-bloggy people, awesome professional pics watermarked with their .com name...and don't get me wrong, it's wonderful and I love it, but it's totally not what I do. I love bloggers. I wish I was a blogger. Haha

Whenever I write, I guess I keep in a couple things in mind - this blog is a scrapbook of life for my kids. Pics, lessons I've learned, inspiring quotes, stories about family, things I've learned how to do and others might find useful. I guess I am generally of the impression that if you are related to me, you will adore this space. If you are not, you will probably be nauseated with the amount of kid-pics. And I'm ok with that. This space is largely for our out of town family - which is a lot of people!

Anyway, to thank my nominator, I would say THANKS! The thing I love about Lauren is her transparency. I am getting to know her better in real life, as a friend, and she is a true gem. I guarantee you will not meet many people like her in your life, who have been through a lot by way of a hurtful past and emerge shining with Christ as her focus. She and I are way overdue for another coffee date:-)

So part of this Award is that I have to tell 7 things about myself, and link to 7 more blogs to nominate them...

Well, since I've been alive for 34 years, and probably most of you reading this have known me for about that long...It is a little hard to come up with 7 things about myself that you might not already know. I'll try to dig deep into the recesses of my life and pull out some new-to-most information. I did something similar in 2009, and I think I used up all the little-known facts at that time;-)

1. Iron Man is my favourite Avenger. Obviously for the reason that he is played by Robert Downey Jr. If that was not obvious, well, now it should be.

2. You know how you hear people say (about desserts) "oh this is too rich" and then they don't even finish it? Well, not only has that never happened to me, but the thought has never even crossed my mind. I have never met anything made out of sugar that I couldn't handle, 3x over in a single sitting, no less. This is not necessarily a good thing. If I don't finish my dessert, its because it doesn't taste good. At all.

3. I am a social coffee drinker, not an addict. I'm basically one that likes a little coffee with my flavoured creamer.

4. I feel like I rely on the internet, maybe a little too much. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the option to "google it". The internet makes me smarter.

5. Don't be surprised if someday, you find me blogging to you from Ireland or Scotland, from my dark, dank, {and gorgeous} stone castle. It will happen. It must.

6. On the driven/lazy scale...I guess I'm in the middle. Not exceedingly driven, so I guess that would tend me to the lazy side.

7. I do not own a vacuum cleaner. Unless you count a shop vac, in which case, I own 2.

My Nominations:

Clean Green Start - Bronwyn is a friend of Brian's & I from waaaaay back in the day, like, 16 years ago! She is very dedicated to "clean living" and I love her recipe ideas (especially great for those on restricted diets), and health and beauty product alternatives. She definitely lives what she preaches by way of food and exercise, and has a wonderful husband and 5 children. Her hubby is Canadian, and so they are a "dual" family like us! If you have a Canadian in your family and you live in the USA, you're pretty much already my fave person. Everybody should love a Canadian, but I digress...

Beauty in Weakness - This blog will point you Christ, it really will. I know Fawne through my Mom, which is to say, my mom knows Fawne (I have met her once, though, actually, at church:-). Fawne is from a really big family, like me, and she's experienced much of the dark side of life and the pain that it can bring. And God has turned those ashes into pure gold. You will feel her heart and pain as you read, but you will also feel the pure delight of the Saviour who holds her heart.

Plenty Place - Kerry is a new friend I do not know very well yet in person...but I guess I know her better through her blog?! She attends my church, and I really like her blog, and perspective. This blog is the most recent addition to my blogroll:-)

Tales of Frogs & Cupcakes - This is a site I found through Pinterest. She is a 4th grade teacher, and she has great ideas and games, and printables etc for the younger grades. Another freebie - Pinterest find and school teacher blog I love is Teeny Tiny Teacher

The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking - I heard of this blog through a friend, and I love it! Kelly is very down to earth, and wouldn't you know it, she's Canadian {all the best of us are}.(ok, ok, I'll stop ;-) I identify with her in many ways and really like her writing style, and she always posts great tips and recipes and how-to's

The Sesetan Chronicles - This blog journals a missionary family, supported in part by Avalon Hills Bible Church in Virginia Beach. Jon & Kristi live in Indonesia, and I love their posts - they make me smile, and rejoice at what God is doing across the globe, and also shudder at the gross stuff they eat and whatever. I am always completely captivated by foreign cultures and try to gobble up all that "little stuff" that really is big stuff, when you add it all together - what makes a nation and a people "tick" and what will matter to them as you try to meet them where they are, with Christ. I appreciate them, their work, and them giving us a peek into the life they are living there.

Mask Cara - I came across Cara's blog through Pinterest awhile ago. It's really become a go-to beauty site for me. I love her videos, and I love her tips for highlighting and contouring the cheeks and nose. I really like the fact that most of the product she uses is just "drug store stuff", so her looks are achievable on a normal budget and not some crazy $90 for a bottle of foundation. She has blue eyes and dark hair like me, so almost all recommendations are perfect fit for me, but she dyes her hair and gets coloured contacts to show how to do makeup for all types:-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Eldredge Knot - DIY

At Kaden's wedding, all my brothers had this really cool necktie knot. Since Brent & Kaden were in the wedding, I thought they just bought special ties...but then I noticed all the other guys with this knot too...
This is Lehman's tie
So I found out that Logan knows how to do this knot and got everybody all 'tied up', haha. Cool eh? It really looks amazing, and is different, so it's interesting and special. It's called an Eldredge Knot, and there's a youtube video for it! Check it out here, if your ever interested in something a little different!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wedding Desserts - Recipes

This was a bit of a working vacation for me - I was asked to make the desserts for the wedding. Amy didn't want a wedding cake, she just wanted a small variety of desserts, and choose cheesecake and cupcakes. I suggested adding cake pops to the mix, and she pretty much left the details up to me after that. Since the wedding was purple, I thought we'd go all out with PURPLE. Here are the recipes I used.

I made little flowers out of royale icing and brought them with me in my suitcase in a tupperware. They made the trip just fine! I used them to decorate everything, so whether cake ball or cupcake -they all got a little flower embellishment.
cake balls, all ready to go! They were actually really really pretty!
For the cake pops (balls), I made a purple cake (use purple dye instead of red, in red velvet), and then a cream cheese icing to mix them together, and then dipped in chocolate. They were delightful.

Red (Purple) Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. purple food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting (for cake balls)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.
Then, add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.

For the cheesecakes, I used one of my mom's tried and true recipes, but instead of making an entire cheesecake as the recipe would suggest, I just spread the batter out over each cupcake sized one (after baked, I mixed up the sour cream topping and spooned some onto each one, and baked again, as recipe indicates). For the bases of these, we had two options. Half of them had a whole Nilla Wafer on the bottom as the crust, and then other half had an entire Oreo cookie on the bottom as the crust.

Cheese Cake

base: (*if making into small cheesecake, use a base as I did, note above)
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoon margarine 
3 pkg cream cheese (8oz.)
1 1/2 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
serve with:
1 can pie filling-cherry

Mix base ingredients and press into spring form pan. Chill. Set
oven at 350. Beat softened cream cheese with sugar and salt until
fluffy for about 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 5
minutes after each. Add vanilla. Pour over crust and bake 50 minutes
at 350. Cool for about 15 minutes out of the oven. Mix topping.
Spread on cake. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Chill. When ready to
serve spread pie filling on top. (*adjust cooking time for smaller cupcake sized cheesecakes. Time will be likely around 17 minutes, watch closely until you know how long it takes in your oven)

For the wedding, I topped the cheesecakes with 3 things prior to serving - blueberry pie filling (purple!), whipped cream, and drizzled purple chocolate

For the cupcakes, they were Duncan Hines mixes, a chocolate fudge and a french vanilla. I filled each one - the vanilla ones with a blackberry jam and lemon juice mixture (small amount of lemon juice, helps to make it a little more easy to squeeze in there, and helps cut down on the sweetness a little), and the chocolate ones I filled with a marshmallow creme. I used my typical buttercream recipe, and dyed half of it purple.

Marshmallow Creme Filling
2 cups marshmallow fluff
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. cream or milk

Mix on medium speed until well blended with a sticky fluffy consistency.
A pic of the cheesecakes topped whipped cream

Family Picture

Us, at the wedding!
It's that "weird" time of year - when we have a 7, 5, & 3 year old. Making them seem 2 years apart, each, when really, as soon as Brooks turns 6 in a few weeks it reflects what they really are - 1 year apart and then 3 years apart.

My three loves. I like how this pic actually does a good job of capturing their personalities, all in one glance.

Thanks for such a "nice smile", Grey

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Safe & Sound

Trying my hand at a Taylor Swift song...I've never sang it before, and it was fun! Kari & Jillaine on harmonies

*people in the background you may not recognize are "adopted family", Curtis, Christa, and they have 4 kids, including identical twin girls:-)

G & V

Vienna and Grey were the two cousins born in 2010. (Grey is 6 months older). Sweet as pie!

isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen?

They are both in the "silly smile" phase, so it's actually hard to get a decent picture of either of them

It's our Via!

Brooks & Vienna - she loves holding hands and giving kisses, she's very affectionate

Wedding Video

The wedding of Amy Loretta and Kaden Steven Gregory. Not the entire wedding (didn't record the pastors sermon part), but I got the vows and kiss and the unity sand:-) Enjoy! It was a wonderful day celebrating the marriage of two wonderful people!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Singing around the piano, again. Christa is a very good family friend from Alberta, who also came into town for the wedding. She's practically family, we'll say:-)

:00 - Doxology - Logan, Kari & Christa
:46 - Hallelujah, What A Saviour - Logan, Kari & Christa
2:10 - There is a Fountain - Christa, Kari & Logan
3:55 - Come Thou Fount - Kari, Christa, Darla & Logan
4:56 - The Solid Rock - Kari, Darla, Christa & Logan
5:43 - A New "New Years" Song - Logan, Kari & Christa

Canadian Food

Americans think Canada is just the same as the USA.

Correction, -- Americans who have never been to Canada think it's the same.

If you've been, you know the truth. America may be superior by way of guns and attitude, but Canada does food like America has never seen. Considering the obesity levels in the USA, it's probably a good thing that they don't have access to the goodness that is Canadian junk food. And I'm not just saying that. I promise you, Americans who know, or other "duals" will back me up here, Canada has 3 times (at minimum) the amount of junk foods and candy choices and varieties. The fact that you have never had a Coffee Crisp should inspire you to book a flight, asap.

Don't even get me started on the Bulk Barn (dubbed the Crown Jewel of Canada by Brian:-).

Anyway, Canada does have a few oddities by way of food, I snapped a few pics...remember milk in bags? Well, thats not the only funny thing...

I have recipes that call for "old cheddar". If you're American, you'd prefer your cheese sharp

Butter or Becel? That is the honest to goodness legit question the guy giving you your popcorn at the movie theatre asks. The Canadian love affair with margarine is admittedly peculiar, seeing as its terrible for you. But margarine is called for in many a recipe, and you will find it in so many forms, your head will spin. Why, it even gets its own {very large} section at the grocery store:-) {Note: there was no "butter" signage at the store, at all}

What? You don't call it Soya sauce? Soya beans? Soya beverages? Well, nevermind then. You wouldn't know what I'm talking about...
Thrills still tastes like soap. While not a great example of yumminess, it can vouch towards variety. If you like eating soap or perfume, you have a viable option here. I bought a pack so Brian and the kids could experience the Thrill of it. There is something for everyone:-)

The All Dressed chip. My hands down fave chip flavour. The day the USA starts to carry this chip is the day that I will stop eating the entire bag by myself, whenever I get my hands on one:-) Brian claims the name would not be a big seller in the US, but it tastes so great, who cares what it's called? Brian has some issues with the phrases that Canadians say. For example, if playing Crokinole with him, shout "Dukie" extra loud and watch him squirm. Or just say Regina, or homo milk. That'll get the Americans every.single.time.

Loud Music

Well, it wouldn't be a family get together, if there was not an impromptu jam sesh, now would it? :-)
"dat's too wow-d"

the drummer

oh look, it's Kenny Loggins beard! On the Gibson Les Paul

Bass guitar'in

listening happily
It's not all the same song, but they are all the same type of song...making it up as he goes along (Logan is), and the other two keep up:-)