Monday, December 5, 2011

Kraft Dinner

My Kraft dinner story was meant to be a lesson to  my family.  Instead it became a lesson for me.  I love sharing my story because I have found that many people are able to relate to it one way or another.

The story goes like this:  A few months ago, after much quiet fuming, I decided to make a point to my family.  The point was to teach a lesson on appreciation and gratitude. Appreciation and gratitude towards me, for my cooking, specifically. 

I mean, seriously, cooking is time consuming but necessary. You have to plan ahead.  It takes creativity to try new things.  It takes much longer to provide a dinner than the few minutes it takes to chow it down. 


My plan was to cook Kraft dinner every night until someone in my family dared to ask the question. “Why are we eating Kraft dinner yet again?”  My plan was for this question to lead into a little lesson on how a little ‘thank-you’ would be greatly appreciated by me.

One night of Kraft dinner, led to the next.  Five night later… and still not a word!  No thanks, no grunts and no questioning.  Just the steady sound of chewing and swallowing.

I couldn’t believe it! So I quit. Not quit cooking in general, just quit cooking Kraft dinner.  I didn’t even say anything to my family about why we had Kraft dinner five nights in a row, and no-one asked.  I felt I had lost a battle.

I shared my frustration with someone close to me.  She said, “Have you thought to communicate your frustration?”

“Of course not!  I should not have to ask for a ‘thank-you’ once in awhile!” was my obvious and stubborn response.  And then, I could only agree.  Yes, the big lesson I learned was "communicate.”   A month or two went by before I took a moment to communicate to my family that a little ‘thank-you’ once in awhile would be well-received.

Chalk it up to another one of those life lessons.


Friday, December 2, 2011

She Warms My Heart

I’m not typically a bragger.  But in this instance, I really feel that I have earned a right to brag just a bit.  Her name is Peyton and she is my little girl.

She has been such an amazing bundle of joy.  So very happy, sweet and easy going.  She warms my heart with every little smile that is an almost permanent fixture on her cute little face.





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One ‘Hairy’ Situation

I was given the gift of treating myself to a lovely hour of bliss at Undines.  In anticipation, I thought that I had better shave my ‘winter’ layer as I figured that by receiving a pedicure it would be highly likely that I my legs would be revealed. 

So, off to the Spa I went.  Light in my step at the thought of enjoying time with quiet and thinking time.  I sat down in the comfy recliner chair.  Was handed a soft blanket and a cup of tea.  A nice soaking tub was placed in front of my be my masseuse.  My pant legs were rolled up.  My feet were ready for a nice relaxing soak and some pampering.

At this moment, some would die of embarrassment.  Me… I could only laugh.  One leg shaved.  One leg not.  Chalk it up for another good story:)



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Year Gone By

If you would have asked me fifteen years ago about what I thought about being thirty-six, I would have said, “old”.   Now, here I am just turning thirty-six.  Ask me now of what I think of twenty-one years old, I would say, “young”. 

It’s all really a matter of perspective.  I love life. I don’t feel old or young.  I feel just right.  As a matter of fact, if I could choose a ‘forever age’ I think thirty-six just might be it. 

A week prior, Jeremy asked as he does every year what I would like for my birthday.  He got the usual answer, ‘nothing.’  This is not what he likes to hear. But the reality is that when I need or want something, I think about it, then buy it.  So, other than some really expensive things, I really don’t know what to suggest he buy me.

I thought about it some more and realized it really wasn’t fair that I didn’t give him the opportunity to shop for something for my birthday, so I gave him one thing I could use.  Then I thought some more and added another thing.  Thought some more, and added another thing.  It wasn’t long before he really did have a list he can choose from.

My birthday arrived.  Flowers were delivered.  Not on my list, but were appreciated anyways.  The funny thing is, nothing on my list arrived on my birthday.  But that was completely OK.  I was pleasantly surprised with a gift certificate to Undines Spa and Retreat. 

A retreat it certainly was.  As I sat in the comfy recliner chair, wrapped in a nice soft blanket, and my feet being treated to some pampering, I felt very dreamy, sleepy and wonderful. 

I look forward to what might come this upcoming year.  Hoping it is as good as the last!



Monday, November 14, 2011

Remembering The Firsts

Jabbering out of my view was Peyton.  The tone of her jabbering came to a change, so off I was in search of what she might be into. I came to find her attempting and, after a few tries, succeeding in climbing her first step of the staircase.

As I came to see what her excitement was. Followed by a look on her face of ‘oh oh, now what?’  I  quickly went to get my camera to snap a picture of this ‘first’,  but not before I warned her to be careful and not fall, of course.




As I snapped pictures and celebrated her ‘first’,  my thoughts shifted to the death of Dylan Reichelt.  An 18 year old boy who had many firsts, but will have no more.  I think of how Aunty Kathy and Bill will mourn for the loss of Dylan and how difficult it is for them to know that he will have no more ‘firsts’ to celebrate.

I think of my ‘last’ memory of Dylan.  Only a few short weeks ago when he let Cayden drag him from one activity to another when he and his family came out for dinner.  After a few hours of Dylans patience with tours led by Cayden of chickens, goats, trampoline, his room, Lego and XBox. Cayden loved having big cousins like Jesse and Dylan.

I finally was able to tell Dylan it was Ok for him to sit down with us and enjoy conversation and desert with the adults. I still remember the look of appreciation by the invite to the ‘big peoples table’, although he never complained.


Dylan will be missed terribly by his family.  His ‘firsts’ and his ‘lasts’ will always be remembered.  It is a reminder to me to enjoy every minute of my children's lives and record every memory I can.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

“I Cried Today Mom”

Today was the day that Cayden came to understand why “We Remember” on November 11. The first thing he announced when he got home was, “I cried today, mom.  It was so sad.  The movie was so sad.  People died and I cried!”

I wasn’t quite certain what he was talking about. Then he shared with me about his school’s Remembrance Day Assembly.

During the school Remembrance Day assembly he and his classmates sang the song “Hearts Around The World”.  They also watched a short film showing some clips of the  wounded, soldiers and war. It was the film that pulled at Cayden’s heart strings.  He came to a real understanding of the war, the soldiers and remembering the fallen. 

Hearts Around The World

Hearts around the world.
Hearts beating as one
Hearts around the world
Will show the way

Pray for the peace of a distant land
Share in the hope that we’ll understand,
With our heart and soul we will reach the goal
of hearts around the world.

Peace good will t’ward men
Hearts around the world
Will sing as one
Everyone giving the world to see

Everyone living in harmony
Singing one by one
We have just begun
With hearts around the world

Hearts beating as one
Hearts around the world
Will show the way for lasting peace on earth
Of peace on earth



Monday, November 7, 2011

Peyton’s Sweet Shoppe Birthday

Our sweet little girl has turned 1! What a fantastic first year of life it has been.  We threw a Sweet Shoppe birthday party in her honor.  She may never remember the event,  but I will never forget it. 

I threw myself into creativity as I planned for this party in my mind for at least a month.  The time finally came for me to put my vision into an actual event to be enjoyed by family and friends. 

I even thought to myself a few times over, “Why am I doing this?  She won’t even remember”.  For which I would remind myself that I would remember and would have pictures to share with her one day.

I made Pom Pom’s, inspired by Martha Stewart, pin-wheels, candy cones, cake pops, marshmallow pops, giant cupcake, mini cupcakes, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, many appetizers and the icing on the cake… The Cake. 

The one I wanted to make, but feared it also.  I debated over and over whether I would tackle the cake, as I have only ever made one challenging cake for my mom’s past birthday.

I tried to enlist a friend who was experienced to help me but something came up so I was all on my own.  I finally gathered up the courage. Got the ingredients together for a chocolate cake with a ganache filling and Butter Cream icing.   Decorated with homemade marshmallow fondant.  It was quite  a process, but a truly rewarding feeling when I finally got to put it in the middle of the table, high above all the other treats. 

One of the things I will remember was how encouraging and complimentary Cayden was through it all.  He’d appear from playing, see something new that was hanging or created and say, “Good job mom.  That looks really good.”  Over and over through the day as I was decorating and creating all the yummy.

I was telling Cayden about how nervous I was in putting the finishing touch, the Fondant, on the cake.  He says, “You can do it. I believe in you.”  Wow!  What a sweet heart.  The praise and encouragement were music to my ears. 

Peyton had a great time.  She loved all the attention of her guests as well as her presents and cake.  The kids all had a great time as they hovered the treats table and moved on to the sweets table with many happy returns.  Yes,  I sent them all home with glee, hopped up on sugar:) 

Thanks to all our dear friends and family who helped us celebrate our little Blessing, Peyton.

Happy 1st Birthday to our little peanut!

Peyton's b-day invite (5) revised














Too bad the camera died right about… now:(


Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Cake Discovery

I have never been a cake connoisseur.  If I need a cake, I purchase an ice-cream cake or a Bakery cake.  On demand.  Super easy.  A little pricey maybe and not very original. 

I am currently being a little over-ambitious in my planning of Peyton’s 1st birthday.  On top of all the other fun and new things I am working on to make this a great birthday bash, I have added making a cake from scratch to the list.  Not only making the cake from scratch, but also making the marshmallow fondant myself.  I have been eying up all those beautiful fondant cakes that seem to be the rage and  want to challenge myself by giving it a whirl myself. 

In making this cake, I have discovered that there is a reason that purchasing pre-made cakes cost a lot.  They take a lot of time and a lot of ingredients.  I am currently on stage 3 of 4 in making this cake and am enjoying it so far.  My guess is that if the cake looks and tastes fabulous I will likely attempt this time-consuming creative process again.  Only a couple more days and we will find out:) 


This is not the cake I am attempting.  But maybe one day?


Monday, October 31, 2011


Recent statistics  show us that sixty-five percent of children raised in the church, will leave the church by the time they leave home.  Hearing this brought on a slight panic.  Seriously?  Our children are sixty-five percent likely to turn their backs on God?  This really hit me hard as one of the most important things for me is that our children will grow up to be incredible and faithful children of God.


Jeremy and I became students of Dr. Dave Currie this past weekend at the I-Parent Conference hosted by our church.  Our hope was to learn some strategies along the way to build a strong family with a strong faith.

The sessions were amazing.  Filled with laughter and useful tools to help us become great parents with great children who have a great faith.

If I took one thing out of the weekend, it was this one key thing.  Slow down.  That simple.  Slow down.  Hmmm.  This is a curse word to me.  Lots of thought going into this one.


Time is craved by our children and giving time  results in the following things:

1) Prevent lost connections.  Take the time to talk and listen to our children

2) Build greater security.  Take the time to raise confident kids who know their worth before God, because they are reminded by us consistently.

3) Catch our core values.  Take the time to model and teach the values we hold close to our hearts.  (These values still need to be developed by Jeremy and I officially)

4) Maintaining high-speed connections.  Take the time to allow our kids a variety of opportunities.  Don’t rob them because of the time it takes.  Enjoy the season of ‘busyness’ and ‘taxi-driving’, it will come to an end.

This weekend could not have come sooner for us.  If I were to be completely honest, slowing down and taking time out was not nearly as high on my priority list as it should be.  This is going to change.  That is a promise I have made to my children. 



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Little Photo Shoot

My family is filled with very capable photographers, but when it really came down to making an appointment with one of them to do a photo shoot, it simply never happened.  So, I finally made an appointment with Maria Boone this summer to get some fantastic photos of my favorite 2 kids, Peyton and Cayden.  She even took a few of me, a rare occasion. 

I was determined to have some unique photos.  I wanted them to be like art on the walls of our home. So, I gathered a variety of items from my home to take along to the park.  A chair, swing, books, fire truck and a change of clothes later, then off we went.

What was supposed to take hour quickly turned into two because of how much fun we were having taking a wide-assortment of poses.  The kids were so easy, and our photographer was a pleasure to work with.   Cayden was especially  happy, as Maria lined his pockets with quarters for his efforts to provide smiles on demand.  

Little Doll_03

Look at Us_16x20



Sans Blanket_B&W






Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caydens “Big Brother”

One of Cayden’s favorite people is Ivan. He pesters Ivan, annoys Ivan and looks up to Ivan as his own big brother. This is exactly how he introduces Ivan. “My big brother.”

Some of Cayden’s favorite things he likes to do with Ivan is jump on the trampoline and play soccer in the backyard. I love watching the two of them together. I especially love how Ivan is patient and playful with Cayden.

Yesterday was Ivan’s 18th Birthday and Cayden wanted so badly to contribute to the gift pile. So he spent the afternoon scrounging for some great ‘gifts’. An un-used pencil and a toque came to the top of the list. He then carefully wrapped both items up with cardstock and a ton of tape. Then practiced some writing skills and wrote him a heartfelt note. Sooo Sweet!





Waiting for Ivan to come home to open his gifts was exhausting. Cayden finally fell asleep waitingSad smile