Saturday, December 25, 2010

Full

For Christmas Dinner this year, my mother-in-law made:

2 roast chickens
A ham with pineapple
Dressing (both in the chickens and separate)
Mashed potatoes
Scalloped potatos
Gravy
Peas
Corn
Carrots
Sweet Potato
Squash
Homemade rolls
-served with:
Gherkins
Bread and butter pickles
Olives
Beet pickles
Cranberry sauce
Mustard pickles
-and for dessert made:
Blueberry pie
Apple pie
Pumpkin pie
-and served them with:
Coolwhip
Vanilla ice cream
Blueberry ice cream

Along with generous amounts of wine. Or eggnog, "flavoured" however you like it. She even thought of the pregnant lady and provided sparkling peach juice.

I may never eat again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Walking... and Coffee

It's Christmas Eve! And I have not been this excited about Christmas in a lot of years, mostly just because I'm so excited to see how Eli reacts to his presents. I'm not expecting effusive outpourings of love and affection, but just the wonder in his eyes is so thrilling to see. Everything is so new when you're only 15 months old. I remember last year just trying to get him to focus his eyes on the Christmas tree. This year it's been a battle to keep him from knocking it over. A battle which, I'm pleased to say, I'm winning. So far. My ornaments have suffered no casualties (although I did notice today one of my snowman ornaments missing his carrot nose, but I can't necessarily blame Eli for that), the garland has remained on the tree and the lights have been untouched. There have been a few spankings doled out, but for the most part he knows enough to leave it alone.

Everyone warned me that once my child started walking I simply would not be able to keep up with him, or keep him out of things. I'm still a bit dubious about this claim - he was so quick and into things while crawling that I don't see a sudden drastic increase now that my toddler is actually... toddling. He improves daily, although still not a good walker, and he's very proud of himself.
I've heard so many different stories about what encouraged children to learn to walk. Lots are eager just to walk to their parent's arms. We watched a cute baby video of a friend's child starting to walk by reaching for his teddy bear. For me, it was shoes. My parents largely kept my shoes out of sight because of my single-minded obsession with them, but when they wanted me to walk all they had to do was dangle them in front of me and off I went. I have a friend who told me that her parents encouraged her to walk by holding out money in front of her, which I think is really funny. Since Eli started walking late he pretty much has done it on his own, no amount of encouraging gets him interesting in walking unless it's his idea, except for one thing.

Coffee.

Yes, my baby will only walk for coffee. I'm not sure what this says about him, or about us as parents, but the kid LOVES coffee. The best part of his day is if Mom or Dad allows him a taste from our cup. Maybe it's because I drank coffee through my pregnancy and nursing? Maybe it's because he sees how much we enjoy it? Maybe he's just inherited his father's addictive tendencies. Whatever the cause, he can't get enough of the stuff. Not that we let him drink it on a regular basis mind you, or fill his sippy cup or anything like that. Probably if we did that he would tire of the flavour pretty quickly, but the small tastes just keep him coming back wanting more. It's not even sweet - Cory drinks his coffee black and I drink mine with just cream, so it's not sugar he's tasting, it's straight up caffeine.

A few weeks ago the three of us were in Superstore getting our groceries. It had been a long day of shopping and Eli was tired and a bit cranky. We reached the end and were in line at the cash register, I was loading groceries onto the conveyor and Cory was trying to keep Eli amused by letting him have tiny tastes from the end of his coffee cup. The clerk (who was a teenage boy of I think about 14) said "Ummm... are you giving your kid coffee?" Cory and I both laughed and I said, slightly embarrassed, "Well, not much coffee..." He laughed and said that he'd never seen that before. I wouldn't have thought too much about the incident, it doesn't really matter to me overly much what a 14 year old boy thinks of my parenting abilities except that it got me thinking. What if it hadn't been coffee, what if it had been the end of a large coke? Would anyone have thought anything of it then, or would they have just laughed at the cute little boy sipping his father's pop? What if it had been some sort of undefinable red juice? No one would have blinked, even if he'd had a sippy cup full of it. And if he'd been drinking a cup full of orange juice or apple juice? People probably would have thought that we were excellent parents for bringing along such a healthy drink for him. The misconceptions about what is good for our bodies drive me crazy sometimes. I would way rather give my child the occasional sip of coffee, without any sugar in it, than any of those other things. People are starting to realize that sugar filled "fruit punch" type drinks are bad for children and linked to obesity (I've started to see some Gov. of Can. commercials about it), but 100% juice drinks are still being marketed as incredibly good for your kids. No one talks about how apple juice consumption has been linked to failure to thrive in babies, or how fructose is actually a worse sugar for you than sucrose. And don't even get me started on pop. We don't even need to go there.

It wouldn't be an Emily Blog Post without some sort of rant about nutrition now would it? And you thought you were going to escape when I got talking about Christmas and Eli walking. Anyway, those are my thoughts of the day. Eli's napping right now, Cory's over at the church writing his talk for the Christmas Eve service tonight and his sermon for Sunday morning, we're heading over to Lynn's in a few hours to skype with the BC Vails and eat yummy food, and before you know it it's going to be Christmas morning. Our friend Dallas bought Cory and I a wireless router off Kijiji for Christmas, so I'm very much enjoying writing this blog post curled up in a comfy chair in the living room (sipping - of course - a cup of coffee!) instead of at the computer desk. What a great present! I have cloth diapers to stuff and a kitchen to clean... but I may just procrastinate a little longer.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Latest Kick

Smoothies! Ok, I've held off for a long time joining the whole "healthy smoothie" craze, mostly because I wasn't convinced they were that healthy. Throw five or six servings of fruit in a blender and call it healthy? We would never sit down and eat that much sweet fruit in one sitting normally, and I really don't think that much fructose is beneficial. Not to mention that I'm allergic to strawberries, and my stomach won't tolerate raw bananas (weird, I know), two things that are in almost every smoothie ever made. So I didn't bother. But I did know that my Mom and Dad have a smoothie for breakfast every morning, and theirs did look pretty healthy, it just included strawberries and bananas, so I never tried it. But I've been hearing more and more about the "green smoothie" craze that's going around health nuts, and finally decided to give it a shot. It sounded incredibly unappealing to me until I realized that it's not actually green in colour, just in content. It contains greens! Spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, what have you. And it's such a fabulous way to eat really quite a large quantity of vegetables, raw, without getting tired of chewing. I'll admit it - I actually like spinach, so I didn't think I needed this because I eat it fairly regularly anyway. However when you put it into a smoothie, you end up eating sooo much more than you would as a salad. And plain kale or collard or beet greens are just kind of yucky. Cooked isn't bad, but not a favourite among the men in my life. Plus the smoothie is just such a good way to work in a few other things that should be eaten regularly but we forget - like flax oil! Anyway, here's what I've been doing and LOVING (I'm sipping one right now!) As per usual, I don't have accurate measurements, but the beauty of smoothies is that it doesn't really matter, you can just add more or less to taste.

Green Smoothie

1/2 to 1 cup raw milk (cow's or goat's, I tend to like cow's the best)
Splash of cream
Couple spoonfuls plain yogurt
1-2 cups organic baby spinach
Teensiest pinch of stevia
Splash of flax seed oil
Splash of maple syrup EDIT: I don't add this anymore!
blend
About 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I use blueberries and raspberries)
Blend until combined

So delicious! Because Eli seemed sleepy today and a bit out of sorts, and I reeeeally don't want him catching the flu that I just recovered from, I also threw in a couple of 1,000 IU Vitamin D tablets and blended them right in with the smoothie. For mine, I just drink it right out of the blender. For Eli I mix smoothie with a bit more milk (to make it runny enough to flow through a sippy cup) and added 4 D-drops to get loads of Vitamin D into his little system. I really don't want the poor baby sick before Christmas!

I've toyed with the idea of adding a raw egg in there too, and probably will at some point, but it's grossing me out a tiny bit right now, especially with my still touchy stomach. Last night I made a different recipe, with milk, flaked almonds, flaked coconut, an organic apple and blueberries. Delicious, but I actually prefer the spinach. Carrot is a good ingredient to add as well I'm told.

Anyway, it's just my lastest phase and we'll see how long I stay on it. For now though, I feel very good knowing I'm putting good, raw, organic food into our bellies. Hope it keeps us well through the Christmas season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thankful

This Christmas, I am thankful for:

-Christ, coming to earth, our redemption and justification and continued sanctification because of him
-My sweet husband who teaches me so much every day
-My little boy, who showers me with love and kisses
-My new baby, and healthy and so far pretty easy pregnancy
-My spacious yet cozy apartment
-My church family
-The cuties in my Sunday School class
-Christmas cookies
-Eli's early bedtime and long daytime naps, enabling me to get things done during the day and in the evening
-My KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It makes life a lot easier
-My wonderful husband who makes me laugh until I cry
-Good food
-My mother teaching me how to crochet when I was little - it's been a fun way to pass the time and be a bit creative this holiday season
-Short lines at the grocery store today!
-The continued excellent health of my family
-My amazing husband who is so kind and helpful around the house
-The internet. I wouldn't know how to cook without it
-My long straight hair. Shallow, I know, but I just really like it
-My fake-yet-still-attractive Christmas tree
-Coffee
-My husband. He's the best

This is the short list. There are lots more things, these are just the ones coming to mind right now. It's so nice to be thankful...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Curry!

So I made a beef curry for dinner tonight with some leftover steak I had in the fridge, and Cory and I both loved it SOOO much that he made me promise to write down somewhere what I put in it so that I could replicate it. Because I pretty much totally made it up, and I'm sure by tomorrow will have no recollection of what I put in it. So... if you cared... here's what was in it. I'm not writing down amounts because I honestly have NO IDEA what amount of anything I put in, I just tossed in ingredients. When in doubt, a tablespoon is always a good place to start. At least that's my motto. Except for the chili flakes. That would be bad.

Emily's Own Beef Curry
Olive oil and butter
Diced onion
Minced garlic
Thinly sliced beef (I used leftover steak)
Ginger (I use the prepared stuff in a jar, fresh is probably better!)
Chili powder
Peanut satay sauce (just a spoonful or two from a jar)
Cumin
Curry powder (lots!)
Chili flakes
Fish sauce (just a dash or so)
White sugar (I know, I'm a hypocrite. Just a tablespoon though!)
Lime juice
Tomato paste (a spoonful)
Chicken stock (around 2 cups??)
A can of coconut milk

I brought it all to a boil and simmered on the stove for about 2 1/2 hours so that the beef would be nice and falling apart. It was! Toward the end of the cooking time I thickened it up a little bit with some flour and water (use arrowroot and water for a GF version). I was going for a Thai-style curry, and so tried to stick to the four "S's" of Thai cooking: sweet, spicy, sour and salty. Hence the sugar, spices, lime juice and fish sauce. You could easily use other ingredients, it's just good to remember those four flavours and try to get them all into whatever you're cooking. It will turn out delicious! I made a Pad Thai the other day that was really good too, not authentic by any stretch of the imagination (the sauce contained ketchup), but very good none the less. Could have used more sauce (note to self).

Anyway, so I served my curry on top of brown rice with broccoli on the side (another authentic Thai ingredient, ha ha), and all three of us had seconds. And/or thirds. And/or fourths. That might have been me.

If I'd had the motivation, I would have cubed a potato or two and thrown that in there, also cauliflower or chick peas would be really good just to flesh it out a little, but I didn't have either of those on hand. A handful of fresh cilantro thrown in at the end of the cooking time would also have been divine, but I didn't have that either. As it turns out it didn't really matter because it was so good, but it would have made it a little more gourmet!

Alright, that's written down, Cory will be happy, I'll be happy next time I go to make it that I can find what I did, and the world is a better place. Good night!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfect Mother



I'm doing it again.

Was it only a few months ago when I wrote that post about all my worries of not being able to afford the very best educational toys and books for my son, and how I was fast becoming convinced that he would wind up an unproductive and uneducated member of society if I didn't buy him the right stuff? My conclusion was (as it usually is) that I'm crazy and need to trust God more and worry less. Much less.

But I'm doing it again.

I see what everyone else is doing for Christmas, and I'm stressing out. We don't have traditions yet! We've only been married for two years, this is our third Christmas together and we honestly don't have anything figured out yet. I know everyone else doesn't either, but it feels like they do. Adorable advent calendars where they all do an activity together as a family every day. Christmas baking, volunteering at local food banks, etc. etc. I wasn't so worried last Christmas because Eli was only 3 months old, and I knew he wouldn't remember anything. This year he's going to be 15 months old, and even though I still know in my head that he's not going to remember this Christmas, I so want it to be special now that he's old enough to start doing some activities.

But I'm struggling with coming up with stuff. I'm not the super creative type, I don't make cute decorations for my house, I don't scrapbook or make handmade Christmas cards, I'm just a "keep it simple" kinda gal. And you know what? I'm learning that that's ok. My mom wasn't the super creative type either, she never did Christmas baking or made cards and although she always provided materials for creativity I don't remember any big Christmas crafts or projects that we all did together. And do I have sad, negative memories of the Christmas season growing up? Of course not! I loved Christmas, just like any kid does! Sure those types of things can be fun, but so can curling up and listening to Mom read Christmas books and stories to us (she did a LOT of that!). We didn't have fun activity advent calendars, just the missionary ones we got from Sunday School. No chocolate or games, but that didn't lessen the excitement of opening the new square every day.

I'm no longer sure where I'm going with this, but I guess my point is just that I need to stop worrying about making great traditions and just enjoy the holidays with my husband and my little boy. Merry Christmas everybody.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sleep Talk



After a fun night with the other homeschool moms in our group last night, full of food (I made a sugar-free blueberry pie, recipe below!) and good talk, I came home around eleven and Cory was already in bed. I wasn't surprised since he has to get up quite early for work, but I kind of needed to ask him a question. We'd been having transportation issues with trying to get the car to Walmart at 3 today to get the winter tires put on, and he was supposed to work a different shift so the original  plan was that I was going to have to drive him into work this morning, then go back into town to get the tires put on and pick him up. He was going to try to switch shifts though so I didn't have to do that, and I needed to know.
I came into our room, turned the lamp on so I could get ready for bed and said hello. He rolled over, smiled at me and said hi back. Then proceeded a conversation that I can't remember all of, but sounded something like this...
Me: So do I still need to drive you to work in the morning?
Him: Uh... no.
Me: Oh? Why not?
Him: Why?
Me: Why don't I have to drive you to work?
Him: Oh, I don't have to go to work tomorrow morning.
Me: What? What are you talking about Cory?
Him: I can go in whenever I want to.
Me: I don't think so. Are you awake?
Insert session of me trying to wake Cory up while he tries to convince me alternately that he's already awake or just to leave him alone and let him sleep. I try a different tactic.
Me: Do you need me to take the car in to get the winter tires on tomorrow?
Him: No.
Me: Why not?
Him: Winter tires?
Me: Yes, do you need me to go to Walmart and get the tires put on the car?
Him: No.
Me: WHY NOT??
Him: They're already on the car.
Me: They are NOT already on the car, they are sitting in the hallway.
Him: They're already on the car.
Me: Wake up!
Him: Walmart.

There was more, but I've forgotten some. At this point I shook him (under protests) until he was awake enough to tell me that he was working his normal shift and could take the car in after work. At least I hope he was awake. He left for work at his normal time this morning anyway. It was a very exasperating conversation.

On to blueberry pie... which I was VERY proud of. I don't think I've ever had a pie turn out that well before so I was pretty pleased, AND it tasted good despite no sugar. Yum.
I generally use Pioneer Woman's recipe for perfect pie crust, and as long as I make it far enough ahead of time that I can freeze it for a day or two before using it it turns out perfectly. The freezing really seems to do something to make it turn out flakier. I also ALWAYS roll out my crust in between sheets of cling wrap. That way no extra flour messes up the consistency of the crust and you don't have dough sticking to your table and your rolling pin, and it's easy to pick up and put in the pie plate.
For the filling, I used:
4 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey
pinch of stevia
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp arrowroot (cornstarch would work, arrowroot is just healthier!)
pinch salt
I melted the butter and honey together, added the other ingredients then poured that over the blueberries. Add a top crust, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then 350 for about 40. Served with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup. Very, very pleased with how it turned out. No sugar, and no artificial sweeteners either. All natural, all good.

I might eat some for breakfast. Watch me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pregnant-Lady Breakfast


Thought I would share my current favourite breakfast. Keeps me full (almost) all morning and is chock FULL of good things for the little one.
Starting with shoving a piece of bread in the toaster - ideally I would use my own, homemade bread but that doesn't always happen, so then I just use the healthiest store-bought I can find. Even that isn't that great though, so I really try to have homemade on hand. Once toasted, I pull it out and spread with homemade mayo, which has got enzymes to help your digestion and raw olive oil, which is the healthiest way to consume it. Slice the best quality cheddar I can find at the store (I'm not quite into making my own cheese yet haha), and then top with two scrambled eggs, made with locally bought farm fresh eggs beat with a splash of heavy cream and salt and pepper, scrambled in a generous amount of butter. Serve it up with a small glass of whole, raw milk.
This makes for a delicious, protein-rich breakfast that keeps me full. At least until 11, when I need an apple to hold me over until lunch. Surprisingly, eating this generous, full-of-fat breakfast has actually had me gaining less weight than I did with my first pregnancy, when I would find time for perhaps a bagel or a piece of fruit and a soy protein shake. Plus I have more energy and feel better.
I know the health benefits of soy are lauded all over North America, but I remain dubious. The studies showing what large amounts of soy can do to little boys has scared me off it completely. I used to love soy milk, and even though I didn't really like them I drank soy protein shakes because they are supposed to be good for you, but I've cut off all soy except for the naturally fermented stuff in soy sauce. The hormones in soy closely imitate female hormones like estrogen, and can very much mess with a young boy's development. Might make me feel better, but I'm not willing to take the risk! They're also not really sure of the effects on young girls, but there is a suspicion that it might be one of the reasons for earlier puberty. I just feel better avoiding the stuff.
For now, I'll stick with my filling, fatty, delicious breakfast that's as natural as I can get it, and know that I'm doing good for my body and my baby!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nourishing my Family

I've had a blog update itching to get out for weeks now, but finding the time to sit down and actually write one proves more difficult than typing it up in my head. In the meantime summer and fall have flown by, Eli had his first birthday in September and is almost 14 months old now, I've been dealing with first trimester morning sickness (which praise God is over now!) and trying to get back into the swing of things.
Getting pregnant just as fall began was, while exciting and very welcome, not great for all the fabulous plans for a perfectly clean house and organized Mommy that I had. The first week or two of September our house was spotless, I cooked fantastic meals, did school with Eli every day and worked out five days a week. Then pregnancy hit. I'm still trying to catch up. Ah well, there's lots of time for perfection later in life!
My life lately has still involved cooking good meals, one of my favourite pastimes! Last night we had roast chicken, which we probably have at least ever two weeks or so, but this was I'm sure the best roast chicken dinner I've ever made.
I've been striving to learn more and more about nutrition and healthy eating, and Nourishing Traditions has become my Bible. The subtitle is "The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats," and challenge it does! It throws a lot of our preconceived notions about healthy eating right out the window and really digs into the science, also focuses a lot on looking at the diets of different cultures all over the world and tries to see why people seem to be living so much longer and are so much healthier on much more "primitive" diets than we consume. It strongly encourages the consumption of lots of healthy fats in our diet. Don't be scared of butter! But that "heart-healthy" margarine plastic? Run. Run fast. It also encourages the consumption of lots of full-fat dairy products, as well as a lot of cultured dairy products and other fermented foods. I'm obviously not an expert and can't get into all the details in my little blog, but I would highly recommend the book. Even if you don't agree with everything in it and decide that she's crazy, it's still eye opening and really makes you think about the messages being blasted into us through the media. I now try to AVOID the low-fat options in the grocery store, and am making more and more of an effort to "make my own."
Anyway, back to the chicken dinner I was talking about... my favourite way to roast a chicken is, believe it or not, from frozen. I mostly discovered this because I'm lazy and never remember to take one out to thaw ahead of time, but it works like a dream. Grab a frozen chicken, put it breast side down in a roaster with a little water, cover and stick in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 hours. Tender, juicier, more falling-apart chicken you will never taste. Of course I'm sure it would be even better with onions and herbs and butter and all that, but who has time for that? Not me! We also had brown rice, now this is where I'm trying to get better at planning ahead. Nourishing Traditions strongly recommends soaking all grains before consumption in order to reduce the amount of phytic acid, which is an enzyme inhibitor and makes whole grains harder to digest. That's why a lot of people have digestion issues when they switch from refined grains to whole. Soaking gets rid of the phytic acid and also makes a lot of the other nutrients more readily available for your body to digest. So I soaked one cup of brown rice in two cups of warm water and stirred in a tablespoon of plain yogurt (or whey, or cultured buttermilk, or lemon juice or vinegar although a dairy product is best). Leave it on the counter for at least 7 hours, then cook as usual. The result is a slightly softer, more palatable brown rice with ever such a slight, but yummy, acidic taste. Much easier on the tummy! Now if I can only remember to do this EVERY time. I also instead of boiling my carrots this time (and boiling away valuable nutrients!) just sauteed them in some butter and olive oil. Delicious. Add gravy, some of our friend Chester's homemade bread and butter pickles, and we were eating like kings!
I feel so good when I serve up my family a meal like that. Good and good for you! Unfortunately for me I got hit with a stomach bug a few hours after this deliciousness and none of it stayed down. Sigh. You'll be glad to know I'm feeling much better today. Tonight's dinner was mussels and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but that's another post for another time. Right now I think it's time to curl up on the couch with a club soda and turn on the mind-melter. Goodnight all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birthday Date

So I'm 21 now. Really old. NOT.

Will I ever feel old? I got married and started my family so soon I feel like I'm way too young to be doing what I'm doing. I suppose 20 years from now that will start to average itself out. Maybe. Then again, 20 years from now I'll have a 20 year old, and I'll only be 41... nevermind. I guess I'll always feel young.

There are worse things to feel.

So I'm watching So You Think You Can Dance and blogging during the commercials and judges' comments. Honestly, they need to put a time limit on those judges. And why do they keep having four? I watched a clip on TV just the other night of Nigel Lythgoe saying that he thought four judges on American Idol was ridiculous, and too many, so why on earth is it ok for SYTYCD? Get back to the dancing please.

My birthday turned out to be GREAT. Day of a bunch of us went to Pizza Delight for my free lunch, which was fantastic, and Cory worked that night. Not fantastic, but whatever. Grammy called me, I went to Myers' for supper, then had Luke and Michal and Holly over after supper. Luke and Michal watched a movie, Holly and I chatted. It was nice to not be alone.

Best day though, came on Saturday. Lynn's (Cory's mom) birthday was Friday, so we took her uptown to see the buskers. We ate lunch at the Alehouse, which was super nice! I had never eaten there before, they had really good food. Plus Lynn paid, which is always a nice bonus. We saw a couple of acts before Eli got too tired and we had to go home, but it was fun! We drove back home then turned around and went right back into town, because Lynn babysat Eli and Cory took me out for a real date! We've gone out a couple of times since he was born, but both times only after he was already asleep for the night. This was our first time leaving him while he was still awake, but he did great Lynn said afterwards! In the mean time, we had a blast. It was so nice to get prettied up, wear my hair down because I didn't have to worry about someone using it as a ladder or a chew toy, and go out with my husband. We went to Grannan's first, expensive I know but we had a couple of gift cards. Dinner was fantastic, I love seafood so much. After dinner we went to a movie (another gift card). We saw Despicable Me, it was adorable. Loved it. It's no "Up," but still really cute. After the movie we picked up a few groceries at Sobeys, which while not quite as romantic, was still nice to do without the baby. It was a great birthday.

And then on Sunday we got to go see Anthony and Olivia and our precious little nieces and nephew! It was too bad we got there right before bedtime, because we didn't get to spend a lot of time with them, but they are wonderful. I'm still amazed how much love you can have for kids you barely know, just because they are family. They are wonderful.

VBS has been this past week and my poor little boy has been tired out by it! His poor little mama has been tired too. Cory's working the evening shift so he was able to help out too, which was great. I taught the 6-8 year olds and Eli was in the nursery class. He has a great time as long as he can't see me. As soon as he catches sight of me, he wants me to hold him, but then once I've got him he gets fussy and squirmy. He doesn't really know what he wants. But he is awfully cute. My class was tiny (two kids the first day, four the second and three the third), but adorable. Kids that age say the cutest things, and they're so eager. They were real keeners to answer the questions during closing time, and I got a lot of compliments on my teaching abilities. In truth though, I think it was just that it was such a small class and they were so excited about VBS in general that they knew the answers. I probably wouldn't get so many compliments if they knew I prepared my lesson in the morning RIGHT before I taught it every day. Literally, I had to get up early every morning and write what I was going to teach that day. I was glad I had the outline Holly had made up in advance.

Some people have this perception of me that I'm a hyper-organized, always-has-everything-under-control, never forgets dates or what I need to do and when type of person. I'M NOT. I'm scatterbrained, disorganized and forgetful. And lazy. Unfortunately for me, I married someone who is equally if not more scatterbrained, disorganized and forgetful as I am. So we've tried to pull up to balance out each other's weaknesses, and we've both improved, but we both still leave things to the very last minute. I might actually be a bit worse than Cory when it comes to that, but somehow we both seem to pull it off. He writes sermons the morning of and still does a great job (which I cannot fathom how he does that), and back in our university days I wrote a paper the morning it was due (at eleven!) and pulled off an A. He can't fathom that. So there you go.

Marilyn taught the 9-12 year old class at VBS and she was telling me that she spent all day Monday and Tuesday the previous week preparing, and was going to spend Sunday night finishing up. She also did a lot of prep work each day setting up her classroom and getting handouts ready and making booklets for all the kids. I am not like her. I had no handouts, I only had colouring pages because Marilyn thoughtfully printed some out for me, and I spent half an hour every morning preparing. However, Marilyn is significantly older than I am, so I figure I've got some time to catch up. I don't think my house will EVER be as clean as hers though. I can dream...

Ok. I'm done. Bed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Thoughts and Peeves.

Why do people, when writing the caption to a photo on facebook or flickr, write "Here we are, playing tourist!" or "Pretending to be tourists!" or "Acting like tourists!" when they actually are tourists? I don't understand - you're in Disneyland, but you're just pretending to be a tourist? Do you secretly live in Disneyland?
It's like there's an inferiority complex about being a tourist, as if somehow being a tourist makes you less of a person. But if you're just pretending, then you're awesome. Right.
I think it's because in movies tourists are always annoying and ignorant. Now, when I worked at Cape Enrage I encountered my fair share of annoying and/or ignorant tourists, but the people who bothered me the most, who reeeeally got under my skin, were the locals, or those who had been to Cape Enrage before, and therefore didn't consider themselves to be tourists. Some of them were great, but others had the most arrogant attitudes of anyone I met all summer. They would drive in like they owned the place, breezing past the greeter at the gate with a mere wave (they don't need to stop, after all, they're locals), then try to tell you they know more about the history of the place than you do, and complain that the chowder had changed from last summer. The chowder never changed, it had been the same recipe for YEARS. I sometimes thought that if one more person told me condescendingly that they'd been coming to the Cape since before I was born, I would throw my clipboard at them.
Ok, enough ranting about that. My point is, if you are a tourist, even if you've been to the place before, just embrace it and please don't try to pretend you're not, or that you are superior to all the little "tourists" that are visiting this landmark with you.

Ahem.

So I went to town today! Man this weather really gets to you, it was sooo hot. Got what I needed, although I still need to get a baby gate. Mom and Ariel are coming to visit tomorrow, looking forward to that...
Went to the Myers' and Eli playing in the pool with Gabe and Michal. It was cold, but he was brave about it until I think Michal accidentally kicked him in the head...? I dunno, I wasn't really paying attention, but he was ready to get out and hold his Mommy for a while. It was so nice to sit outside, in the shade with a cool breeze. This stuffy apartment makes me feel ill sometimes, it's so hot.
Sunday School picnic this weekend! I'm excited! Kelsey asked me to bring a dozen hot dog buns, and I had a moment (ok several moments) of crisis at the bun section of Superstore. It hurts me somewhere deep within to buy anything made with white flour. I feel like I personally am propagating the obesity epidemic and that I will be personally responsible for three people getting cancer if I bring white bread buns to the picnic, not to mention that I'm actually paying money to the companies that produce this garbage.
So I agonized over the whole wheat buns, but they only come in a pack of eight, and are almost twice as expensive plus I would need to buy two... so in the end I just shook my head, closed my eyes and grabbed the white buns. Honestly the whole wheat aren't a huge step up anyway, if I really wanted to be health conscious I would make them from scratch myself. But in this weather I'm just not feeling that ambitious.
Cory was helping unload groceries and was shocked when he saw white bread hot dog buns. He said he thought for a moment that I'd gotten heat stroke in town, until he remembered the picnic. He knows me so well...
After all that you'd think that I wouldn't eat any hot dogs on Sunday. But the reality is that I probably will. Even though I'm super picky about what I buy and bring into our house and what I cook for us to eat, I'm not that worried about eating super healthy outside the home. I have enough to worry about without bringing our own food to other people's houses and to events. Since we eat at home 95% of the time, and that's healthy, I'm not going to agonize about that last 5%.
On the topic of food let me rant again - bought "Olive Oil Cooking Spray" today. So you'd think it would be made out of olive oil, riiiight? Guess again! The ingredients read: "Extra virgin olive oil (how much do you want to bed that it's not cold pressed?), soy lethicin, water, soy fatty acids (hang on, I bought this because I wanted to AVOID soy!), and propellants isobutane (huh?) and propane. Hang on, propane? There is PROPANE in my cooking spray? That I cook my FOOD with? Last I checked, propane was for cooking your food, not for putting IN your food.
I don't use cooking spray much, I mostly just use butter and/or organic olive oil to cook my food, but I like it for spraying the cast iron frying pan in between pancakes. That's pretty much all I use it for, but now my pancakes have propane in them.
Eating healthy is a much bigger job than I originally thought it would be, when we first got married. It's a lot of work and a lot of money, and it seems the more I learn the more expensive it gets.
I shouldn't say that totally - meat has actually gotten a lot cheaper since we buy it locally. And milk is WAY cheaper when we get it from our neighbour's cow. So is the butter. Eggs are about the same as at the store. But organic produce from the grocery store so we can eat fruits and veggies all year round? That adds up.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Best Pancakes Ever.

I have to share my new favourite pancake recipe with the world. It makes thin, light, delicious pancakes and you would never know that they are incredibly healthy. As in, probably can't get healthier pancakes. Plus, you mix up the batter the night before, so in the morning you just throw in a couple more key ingredients and you're all set. These are the pancakes that Cory mutilated when he so sweetly tried to make them for me a few weeks ago, but done properly they are incredible. Here's the recipe:

The night before, throw into your blender:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (uncooked) rolled oats
1/2 cup (uncooked) brown rice
Turn the blender on high and let it go for three minutes.
I'm always scared this will wake up Eli, it's so loud, but it hasn't yet. My mom makes these pancakes with a whole cup of brown rice and no oats, because she needs them to be gluten free. They're just as delicious that way too, I just use oats because I like a mix of different types of nutritious grains. You can use other uncooked grains too I'm told, I've just never tried it.
Now you just let it sit, in the blender, on the counter overnight. Some people might worry about the buttermilk going bad or something, but it won't. Even if it sours slightly, it's still good to eat. We eat sour cream and yogurt without worrying about it, and this is just the same. Plus if it bothers you, it gets cooked afterward anyway.
In the morning, add to the blender:
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flax seeds (optional, but I always use them)
Blend away for another minute or so, just to break up the flax seeds and get it really well combined.
Heat your skillet and make those pancakes! The batter is a bit on the runny side, but I like that because you end up with thinner pancakes, and I think those are better anyway. I like that it's already in the blender so it's super easy to just pour into the skillet.
In the end, you would never guess that these weren't made with white flour and sugar. But they aren't and that makes them the best thing ever! It's become our Sunday morning favourite. And it's so easy to make them gluten free, if Mom is visiting. A total win on all fronts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dentists and Diapers

I had to go to the dentist today, and it was miserable. First: I had to leave Eli at home with Cory. Not that I don't trust Cory to take care of him, I just missed him, and kept thinking about him missing me, and it was sad. Second: I had to sit in the dentist's chair for two hours. I don't remember it ever taking that long before. Had four fillings, and the dentist really doesn't believe in overdoing the freezing. Now, actually I appreciate that, I don't want my whole face frozen, but he does it by giving you one little shot, then drilling to see if it hurts, then more freezing, more drilling, etc. He ended up giving me needles three times on one side and four times on the other. Of course you can't feel the needle going in after the first time, but it's still not pleasant having that very large syringe in your mouth. And my mouth is really sore now after all those shots.
Enough complaining though: on the positive note, got an X-ray of my jaw and I have no wisdom teeth, at all! The hygienist brought the X-ray into the room and set it down and left without telling me about it, so I was staring at it trying to figure out where the heck my wisdom teeth were. I felt really dumb actually that I couldn't figure out where they were, but turns out that's because they weren't there! I'm so glad I don't have to get expensive surgery, I was actually stressed out thinking about how I would take care of a baby if I had to get them out. And I'm pretty wimpy, so I know it would have taken a while for me to recover.
Got a call tonight from downstairs asking me if I had any unopened soothers. Someone from Beulah had come up the hill looking for one and they don't have them downstairs. Luckily I had a package that I hadn't used, since Eli gave them up months and months ago. Glad to help out, I know the sense of panic when you realize that you don't have one! HOWEVER, when I snuck into Eli's room to get it, I happened to notice that he was naked. Like, completely. Rotten kid. It's my own fault really, I know he can take his diaper off, I've known it for a while, but he was in just a diaper for a big chunk of today and never attempted it, and I just felt sorry for him, it's so desperately hot up here. So, stupid me put him to sleep in his diaper. Now of course I have a dilemma. Do I wake him up to put the diaper back on? Or do I just let him sleep blissfully naked and deal with the consequences in the morning? I think I've decided to just leave him alone and deal with it in the morning, and I'm praying that tonight's bodily functions are limited to number one.

I needed to wash his quilt anyway.

But I wish I could take a picture of him, he is so cute curled up in his crib, his little naked bum stuck up in the air. Why are baby bums so incredibly precious? Why do I have this urge just to go in there and kiss it? Not going to, I'm just asking.

So. Cute.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Oh Canada

We've had a great couple of days. Last weekend when my sister Lianne was here visiting we went uptown and forgot the baby stroller. Cory carried Eli in the Snugli, but a few blocks of that was all he could take. We went to Stylin' Mama Baby and Tot just to look at the hiking backpacks, Cory tried one on and wouldn't take it off. So we bought it.
We had been meaning to get one for a while though, and already we've used it a lot! It's so nice to be able to go in the woods with the baby, we haven't done much of that yet. I pulled him in the sled once when we went tromping through the woods looking for a Christmas tree, but that doesn't really work in July. So now that we have it, and spent the money, we're determined to USE it. Facebook photos reflect our exploits. We took a quick jaunt down to the brook on Wednesday so Cory could go swimming. Eli and I sat on the bank and watched him with adoration in our eyes - but for different reasons.
Thursday was Canada Day so Cory was home, which was nice. We thought about going uptown, but elected to stay home, weed the garden, and eat barbeque with Lynn. She makes really good steak. After dinner we went up to Oak Point with Dallas and did some hiking on the old railroad track, up to the wharf and back. On a side note - why does no one ever know how to spell wharf? There's an "h" in it, people! Not warf! Wasn't that a character on Star Trek? Warf? I dunno. Beside the point. We got to use the hiking backpack again. That night we put Eli down at Lynn's house and went to the Dotson's for a bonfire just the two of us. Exciting! It was a nice night. I can't imagine living back in the city and not being able to just gather for a bonfire in someone's backyard whenever you wanted to. I would miss it so much. Never thought I would be a "country girl," but here I am, and I love it!
And now today (Saturday) we went hiking again! This time Mt. Champlain, and it was hard work. Didn't think I could make it there a few times, I'm quite out of shape, but I did it and it feels good. It was about two hours there and back, and I soaked up the sunshine and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I can't imagine having to do it with a baby on my back, Cory is one tough man. He was telling me that he used to run stretches up the mountain when he was a teenager. That is crazy.
Speaking of Cory, he was my hero this morning. Got up with the baby and let me sleep in, it was so nice! I only slept in until 8, mind you, because a dog barking outside my window woke me up, but it was still really great. He also made pancakes, but that was unfortunately a flop. I had mixed up a pancake batter the night before because it has to sit overnight, but you don't add all the ingredients until morning, so it was missing a few things, plus he didn't stir it so it was all settled. They were pretty gross, but I appreciated the effort so much! He threw up his hands and took me to the Evandale Resort, so all was not lost. While not quite as healthy as my brown rice pancakes, breakfast there was fantastic, as always.
I've got to go make supper - we're experimenting with liver, for tonight. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things my Pastor has Taught Me

I love going to a small church. I love it more than I ever thought I would. Having grown up at NMBC, I really wasn't too keen on the idea of regularly attending a church of about 40 people, often less, and half of those being kids. But when Cory and I starting talking seriously about getting married, he told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted to live in Browns Flat. I told him I wanted to live in Moncton and keep going to university. And he told me he was going to live in Browns Flat. Essentially, I could choose to join him there or not. And so I did. And am I ever glad I did! I am living my dream, and I didn't even know that this WAS my dream! Stay-at-home mom in a close knit, country community, surrounded by supportive friends. One of the things I appreciate most is being able to have a close friendship with our pastor and family. When you go to a huge church like NMBC you don't really get that opportunity, because it's frankly impossible for the pastor to have his home constantly open for people to just drop by and visit whenever they feel like it. So I'm very thankful.

Here's what I've been learning lately: Guy always talks about how parenting is by faith. I don't think I really understood what he meant before I became a parent, and I know I still have a long way to go before I really "get it" (if I ever do!), but I'm learning what he means. Lately I've been ogling the Baby Core Curriculum from Timberdoodle. It's got all these toys that are supposed to help with my child's development and make them into a better individual and more productive member of society, and books that will help me guide him along this process, teach him sign language and turn him into a veritable genius. BUT - I can't afford it. No way, not happening. I was reading about all the stuff it includes and I actually started getting stressed out and flustered. I was quickly becoming convinced that unless my child had these toys and I read those books to know how to stimulate his young mind, he would grow up ignorant and completely underdeveloped. Don't laugh at me, I'm serious! I had to put the catalogue away, take a few deep breaths, and spend a few moments in prayer. Guy's voice in my head reminded me that I'm raising this child by faith, and that I need to trust God that even though he doesn't have the expensive toys and I haven't read all the right books, the only toys he really needs are a mom and dad who love him, and the only book I really need to read is God's - the Bible. I need to have faith that my son will turn out just fine even though I can't afford certain things for him. I still would love to have the curriculum, if he gets large quantities of birthday money I know what I'll be buying, but even if I never get it I know that he is God's son, not mine, and God's going to do a much better job of raising him than all the fancy toys ever could. Phew!

On an unrelated note is the second thing that's struck me lately. In a recent sermon Guy was talking about gossip, and something he said really hit home for me. I've never really thought of myself as a gossiper, while I have moments of weakness I'm not really the type to blab incessantly about other people and their business. My home growing up was kind of private, and I inherited a lot of that reserve about personal things. The fact that I married one of the most uninhibited people I've ever met was quite an adjustment for me. But what Guy said was convicting: he said that gossips aren't necessarily the people who gab forever about this person or that, but they can also be the people who inject doubt about a person's character into a conversation by one small phrase. Ouch. That's SO me. I may not viciously tear them apart in a conversation, but I can and do turn opinion by merely raising a voice of doubt as to someone's character. Certainly if someone is in danger of overly trusting in someone else it can be good to raise doubts, but it's often unnecessary, and none of my business. I've got to watch myself and try to hold back from those small, cutting phrases. I'm glad that my eyes have been opened to that, even though it was hard to hear.

So those are two of the heavier things that have been on my mind lately. Beyond that life's been in upheaval all weekend with craziness but... wouldn't want to gossip about it ;) Prayers, however, are always appreciated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Of Pizza.

Cory told me I should write down this recipe before I forget it, because it is our new all-time favourite pizza EVER. People think Cory's forgetful, so they tell me important things that must be remembered, but truth be told I'm probably just as if not more forgetful than he is so in the end neither of us remember. It's pretty sad actually. I hope Eli remembers these things when he gets older, otherwise he's going to miss out on a lot of activities because his parents never remember when things are happening.
Ok ok: pizza. Here it is.
Starting with crust, I've been using PW's, from her cookbook. It's fantastic, super easy, and DELICIOUS. I have yet to try it whole wheat, but that's my next step. I'll let you know how that turns out.
I press the dough into a pizza pan, then brush it with olive oil. Snip some fresh basil from my windowsill, slice it up and sprinkle on top. Then I slice up a tomato really thinly and lay the slices over top. Follow with cooked crumbled bacon and crumbled feta. Then I grab a handful of fresh asparagus, snap into bite sized pieces, toss in a bowl with some more olive oil and spread on top. Fresh ground black pepper, then mozzarella over the whole thing. Cook at 450 for 10-15 minutes, and TA-DA!! Tomato Asparagus Pizza, best thing of all time EVER.
For some reason when there's diced tomato on a pizza, it grosses me right out, but when there's thin slices of tomato, my mouth waters. Can anyone explain this to me?

Enough about pizza. On to my other favourite topic: my son. He's going to be crawling soon. I mean SOON. He is sooooo close, he'll get the arms going, or the legs, he just needs to figure out coordinating them, and use his knees more. He can get around a little bit, it's just a very slow process. Faster on the kitchen floor than on the carpet, because he can slide easier. He likes that.

He's wonderful.

Spent this afternoon enjoying the beautiful sunshine working on the VBS Float for the parade tomorrow. Theme is "Kingdoms and Crowns," so we were making it look as much like a castle as possible. Turned out really cool, looking forward to seeing it tomorrow.

Cory's working all night again, so it's another lonely evening for me. The kitchen is beckoning me to come clean it. Until later...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Kitchen Windows: A Retrospect














 When I first moved into the apartment, my wonderful mother-in-law had done a really great job fixing up the place. I can only imagine how many hours she put in making it ready for me, and I was amazed at her generosity with all the stuff she gave me. Her old vacuum cleaner, almost a full set of pots, silverware, you name it. When I moved in the place was fully stocked! Not only did she give me practical things, but she also found curtains for the rooms that didn't have any, and decorated with plants and knick-knacks all around. Most of the stuff I loved, and kept, but this one window in my kitchen, while I liked it, never quite felt like "me." She had hung adorable curtains, and put little china figures on the nooks around it. I loved the curtains, still do, but wasn't big on the figurines.These aren't exactly "before" pictures, originally that plant wasn't there and there was another figure there and on the left. But you get the idea. The lighthouse was my own addition, I liked it, and still do.

Here's the thing though: I'm lazy. And I didn't know what to put there, so I just left it, even though I didn't really like it. For almost two years. Yeah, I know. That's bad. A few months ago Cory put that plant there, which I liked, but the window still wasn't me. That changed today. Behold, my new window. I know the change is really not that drastic, but I did it, and I'm proud of myself for finally getting off my lazy behind and making something that I like. The other window in the kitchen has candles and a Willow Tree figurine that my sister bought me on it, but I had no more candles, so I put these mason jars up there. Simple, incredible cheap, and much more "Emily." I put that other plant there too. Now finally, I am completely happy with my window. In the fall when we harvest our garden and do our canning I'll pull down these jars, fill them with delicious things from the garden and then put them back up, full. I'm thinking tomatoes and pickles. Then once we empty them, I'll just put empty jars back up. I'm completely content. Hopefully once we move into a house someday I won't be as lazy about home decorating as I have been in the apartment. I suppose I originally thought we would only be here for a year or so, but since it looks like we're sticking it out for a while, I am glad my kitchen is finally perfect. It's now my favourite room in the house. More pictures to follow...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pizza Fail

I know I'm not a consistent person, but last night's pizza disaster was too epic not to tell the world about.

Every Sunday night, after evening service, Cory and I eat a McCain International Thincrust Pizza. It's our favourite. So last night Cory went to take it out of the oven, except that he didn't use the oven mits because I forgot and left them at the church AGAIN, so he grabbed a couple potholders, slipped, burnt his finger and half the toppings ended up smeared all over the oven door. While he ran his hand under cold water I consoled him, scraped some of the toppings off the door and patched the pizza back together as much as I could, trying not to laugh at him TOO much. He sliced the pizza up and we loaded our plates and headed into the living room to eat it. I went to move a book off the coffee table, tipped my plate, and dumped both pieces of pizza onto the carpet. Topping side down.

I'm not kidding.

Do you think I would kid about something like this? It was tragic.

Normally dropping my pizza on the floor would have greatly upset me, but the irony of the situation was such that I couldn't even get mad, all I could do was laugh. So for the second time that night, I found myself scraping toppings and patching pizza. I actually managed to salvage most of it. I think I ate a lot of cat hair, but I was hungry ok!

The whole pizza thing reminded me of when Cory first moved into this apartment before our wedding when I moved in. He burnt his hand back then too - he put an oven mitt on his right hand, opened the oven to retrieve something and reached in and grabbed it... with his left hand. He felt kind of dumb that day. I felt kind of dumb last night. We're even.

I hear a little boy giggling with daddy in my bedroom, must go join in the fun.

Until something else disastrous happens...
Emily.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Impatient.

I've said it before I believe, but it needs to be reiterated: I am probably the most impatient person in the world, and I really need to stop wishing my life away.

I went on Old Navy.com today and started browsing the maternity clothes. They have some really nice stuff, really cute denim summer shorts and pretty tunic tops and maternity bathing suits and I just really would like to have a reason to buy them, but I don't. Because I'm not pregnant. But I'm reeeeally starting to wish I was.

Cory and I took the "whatever happens happens" approach to family planning about three months into our marriage. Two weeks later, I was pregnant. We continued with that approach after Eli was born, but here we are, eight months in, and I'm still not pregnant again. I'm getting impatient. I cannot IMAGINE what it must be like for women who really struggle with getting pregnant. People are beginning to ask "So, when can we expect another one!" and it's starting to bug me, so I can see how incredibly frustrating it would be if you were really trying to have a baby, and couldn't. I know that the entire reason I'm not pregnant yet is because I'm still nursing, and if I weaned him we'd probably have another one pronto, but I also know that nursing is best for him, and I should really keep going at least until he's a year old. Plus I'm lazy, don't want to wash bottles and mix and measure formula, and it's too expensive. Once he's a year he can just get a sippy cup with cow's milk.

I'm re-reading this post and wondering if it's a bit too personal for the WWW but blogger doesn't have privacy settings to make it so only I can read it soooo... up it goes.

In other news, we are the proud owners of a new laptop. Finally. You have no idea how nice it is to be able to stream video without the computer shutting off. Or surf the net without the computer shutting off. Or listen to audio without the computer shutting off. Or upload pictures without the computer shutting off. You get the idea. It's nice.

I hear a baby stirring, so I've got to conclude. More later...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flashback.

Today I had a flashback to one of my not-so-favourite pregnant memories. I must have been 36 or 37 weeks pregnant and we were travelling back from Nova Scotia to BF. We stopped at a McDonalds for supper, and were standing in a crowded line when an older, slightly greasy looking man walked in the front doors, and from a good ten yards away proclaimed "GOOD LORD!" loud enough for the entire establishment to look at him, then in turn to look at me because he was staring at me, eyes bulged out. "You're VERY pregnant!" he shouted. At that point I wanted to pull out a handgun, but unfortunately I left mine in the car. "Well, guess this line's too long for me" he bellowed, then turned around and walked out again. I whispered my order to Cory and snuck out to hide in the car. I'm not sure what it is about pregnancy that gives perfect strangers permission to point you out and humiliate you in public, but it can be embittering. Thankfully Eli was born, at 38 weeks, not very long after this. I was getting very tired of the comments.

Oh, and about the handgun? Just kidding.

Maybe.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Milestones.

Another post about my dear little boy. He has his first tooth! I was so excited, but Cory was a bit underwhelmed. He complained that you couldn't really see it, only feel it, so it didn't count.

But then I chased him around the house with the washcloth I had just used to wipe the baby's bum.

And then he saw things more my way.

Yesterday was lunch at Dallas C's house - 24 people! I had made dessert, two 9x13 chocolate cakes and 22 chocolate cupcakes, since we had actually been expecting closer to 30 people. I only brought one of the cakes and all the cupcakes, since I didn't really think we needed both, but Dallas's dear sweet mother, because it was his birthday on Saturday, had made - get this - a chocolate cake and chocolate cupcakes. So we had quite enough dessert. I think all the kids got at least two cupcakes and a piece of cake. And now at home Cory and I are working our way through the leftover cake. Yes, I know I gave up sweets for Lent, but this weekend was a bit of a write-off. Having to make dessert for a crowd when you're tired and emotional results in lots of tasting.

Tomorrow it's off to the doctor again for six month shots. Here's hoping they go as well as four month shots did, he barely even noticed those ones! I'm excited to see how much he's grown - I'm guessing he's around 16 pounds, maybe a little more, but we'll just have to see. He's a very average baby, been right around the 50th percentile his entire life. That would make sense, since I'm just a bit above average height and Cory's a bit below it.We're also going to head to Mom's group in town. It's been cancelled for weeks now, due to March Break and a sudden outbreak of chicken pox, but I'm told it's safe to venture out again! I don't know how old babies are supposed to be before it's safe for them to get chicken pox, but I'm thinking it would be best to avoid it until he's at least a year old.

Well, the master of the house is going to be home in half an hour or so... and I still have to scrub the toilets. Ah the life of a housewife. Wouldn't have it any other way :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My son.

Being now an experienced mother of six months (almost), I feel I'm quite qualified to write on the subject of motherhood, specifically that short phase surrounding childbirth. I was contemplating tonight as I held my sleeping son the events surrounding his birth - how reality was different from my expectations, how in some cases my expectations were too high, in other cases too low.

Breastfeeding was a bit of a shocker, I must admit. Curse those nurses. After struggling for an hour to get the child woken up and latched on, all I hear is "Does it hurt? If it hurts you aren't doing it right! Break his latch and try again!" I have serious doubts about whether any of those women had actually ever nursed a child. OF COURSE it hurts! Looking back, I'm not sure what they were thinking, telling me that it shouldn't hurt. You take a creature whose sole purpose in life is to suck as hard as it can on anything that comes into its mouth, then place one of the most sensitive parts of your entire anatomy into that mouth, and tell me it's not supposed to hurt? Oh how I longed to simply stuff a bottle into his mouth. All that nonsense about feeling so connected to your child, the bonding experience as he draws his very life from your body... at that point I couldn't have cared less.

But of course that's changed. It doesn't hurt now, it's virtually effortless, and I'm rewarded by sweet smiles. In the beginning though...

If I turn my mind back to those hours right before he was born, I remember the anticipation, the excitement. I was going to MEET this person that, even though I'd never seen, I felt so incredibly connected to. He was part of me, and I was finally going to see him! Reality was so different than I thought. Sure I loved him from the moment I saw him, of course I did. I thought he was beautiful! But I somehow thought there was going to be this rush of overwhelming emotion and feeling and love, and to be honest, there really wasn't. Instead it was more like going through the most painful, exhausting experience of my life and when it was finally over, instead of being able to rest and recover, some nurse had the nerve to hand me this squalling infant and expect me to care for it! He felt like such a stranger to me at first. That's what I called him - "Little Stranger." Taking care of him felt awkward and strange, I kept feeling like someone was going to come take their baby back from me. It was like babysitting.

But gradually, almost inperceptably, my feelings and emotions have undergone a complete turnover. I hold my son now and he is so familiar to me. I know every inch of him, I know what he's thinking by the look on his face, even though he barely knows what he's thinking. I can tell his cries apart, I know when he's hungry, when he's tired and when he's in pain. I know when he just wants his Mommy, and when he wants to explore the world as far away from me as he can get!

I should have been prepared. Marriage was the exact same. Sure people tell you that it's different than you think it's going to be... but you don't really understand what they mean. Inside you are sure that the minute those vows are read and you are really officially married - or at least by the next day - you are going to feel completely different towards your spouse. More in love, less fighting, just perfect bliss. Ha! I remember thinking, "I feel like I just moved in with him. Nothing's changed! He still bugs me!"

I don't know why we get our expectations up so high. Maybe God knows that if we really, really knew how hard marriage and parenting was going to be we would never go through with it. At any rate, I'm thankful for my reality. Like I fall more in love with my husband every day, I fall more in love with my son every day too. I wouldn't trade this life for anything!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fried Zucchini

May I please state that zucchini, heretofore rejected and thoroughly snubbed by myself, has now been adopted into the family of "Emily's Favourite Vegetables," right up there with broccoli and asparagus. Thanks to the magic of fried zucchini. Oh man oh man. Take the zucchini - slice it thinly. Melt some butter in a skillet. Throw in the zucchini, stir it around and start to cook it down, then give it a generous dash or three of soya sauce. Then COOK that zucchini, my friend! Cook it until it is limp, submissive, and almost falling apart. (I realize this not be the MOST health-concious way to eat this veg, but you have to give me some credit for eating it in the first place, right?) Then pile a big ol', huge ol' mound of it on your plate and stuff your face. Then do it again.

This is actually one of my new favourite treats. I like to have a treat while Cory's got men's Bible study going on and I'm banished to the bedroom, so it's usually avacado mashed up into delicious guacamole-ness, or this zucchini. It's THAT GOOD.

And who introduced me to this? My dear mother. She would make this for her and Dad sometimes while we were growing up, and never offered to share. Not that I would have accepted if she HAD offered, in fact I would have turned up my nose and gagged, but when she made this for me when staying with me the week after Eli was born I devoured it. In large quantities. And now I can't get enough of it.

But, like almost everything else in my life, this is probably just a phase. A few months from now and I'll be RAVING over some other delicious treat that I've discovered. I'm just like that. Non-commital. Thank heavens I can't escape from my marriage, or from being a mother, because knowing my sinful self I probably would try to, if it weren't for the grace of God.

Praise God for his grace in my life! And also for fried zucchini.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Good Tuesday.

Although today started with a slight change of plans - I was supposed to take the car and go to Mom's group and town but Cory ended up needing it - it was altogether a good one. I've been dealing with a more-fussy-than-normal baby the past couple days, but today seemed to be an improvement, though still not back to his normal self. My poor husband... I left last night for an hour to go to the new Pilates class at the school, and apparently the wee one screamed his head off the entire time. He was finally asleep when I got home, so I got to miss the entire meltdown. I feel bad for Eli, but worse for Cory, who was trying every trick he knew to get him to calm down. Eventually he just put him in his crib, he cried for ten more minutes and then fell asleep just before I came home.
Today, though, he was better. Behaviour-wise, anyway. When we got up in the morning I put him on the change table, took off his sleeper and his diaper, at which point he promptly peed all over himself. Then puked. All over himself. Then smiled up at me. So, being the dutiful mother that I am, I ran a bath for him, washed him down, dried him off and put him back on the change table to get him dressed, at which point he promptly peed all over himself. I realize that any mother worth her salt would have patiently and sweetly drawn him another bath and washed him down again, but I didn't. I said "screw it" and wiped him off with a damp cloth.
After THAT was over, we got a lot done in the morning, and read books and giggled and had a good time, just the two of us. After lunch we went for a walk! I felt motivated after the Pilates class of the night before, so we very ambitiously decided to walk around Beulah. PHEW! I did it on Friday and was fine, but I wasn't pushing a stroller then. Pushing Eli makes it a lot harder, and there are a lot of steep hills in Beulah, especially the LONG hill at the end. I really have no idea how far it is, but I'm thinking around 3km, maybe a bit longer. It took me about 40 minutes anyway.
After Cory got home from work today he too felt ambitious, so he decided to RUN around Beulah! The man hasn't run in over a year, and he just up and decides to run around Beulah. Then he does it! In twenty minutes! I was so impressed.
Speaking of impressed, imagine my surprise the other day when I came home from a homeschool meeting and found out that he had decided to make whipped cream for the dessert I left him. That's impressive enough on its own, but here's the clincher: he whipped it by hand. As in, with a whisk. Not the beaters, just a hand-held whisk. I asked him if he was crazy, and he said "Don't you always do it that way?" HA! As if! I don't even think I COULD do it that way if I wanted to. He said it was really hard, and the only thing that kept him going was thinking "If Emily can do this, I can do this." Imagine his disgust when he learned that I use the beaters. "Oh. That would have been easier." Poor man.
So supper tonight: stir fry. It was delicious, and completely a spur of the moment decision. The problem with buying a side of beef whole instead of individual cuts of meat at the store is that you really aren't quite sure have the time what you're pulling out of the freezer. I thought I had grabbed a couple of T-bone steaks for dinner, but instead when they thawed found these super thin, kind of icky-looking steaks that really didn't look like they would be that good on their own. So last second I decided to slice them up and make a stir-fry instead, and it turned out deliciously. Cory ate a massive plate of it, then an hour and a half later ate a tuna sandwich with an entire can of tuna, and half a box of Kraft Dinner. I think that run really increased his appetite.
The night finished off with turning on the TV just in time to watch Canada get another gold medal. We've had ridiculous luck with that, we've seen three gold medals live so far, and we barely turn the TV on! We just have a good instinct I guess. And right now... Troy is here fixing my dryer for me! Hooray for a dryer again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent

I don't think I've ever actually (successfully) given something up for Lent before, so, in my 20th year of life, I concluded that it's time to start. I will not consume, for the 40 days of Lent, the following:

Junk Food - including chips of all sorts and varieties (including those danged wonderful multigrain Tostitos), candy, and chocolate.

Sweets - desserts. All desserts. And anything with a really high sugar content. I realize that's a bit objective, but I'm just going to try to avoid unhealthy sweets.

This gives me an excuse to try making those fat-free sugar-free granola cookies I've been dying to try! Oh, and the exception clause: can't forget. Cory's birthday is on Friday, so I've decided I'm allowed to eat any sweets connected with that event, like if someone makes him a cake or we go out to dinner or something. But other than that...!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

I had to blog about my valentines day - as cliche as that is, because it was simply and truly the best one I've ever had. We had our dear friends Chester and Ashley Dana come stay with us this weekend, which was splendid, but it also meant Eli slept in the office, and not very well. He was up a lot through the night, and in the end I brought him into our bed to sleep. Not that that makes him sleep any better, I was just worried about him waking everyone else up. So I woke up tired, but my dear husband wished me a happy Valentine's Day first thing, then got up and took care of the baby for me and cleaned the house so I could get ready for church and start the stew for Sunday lunch, which was at our house. We had more than the usual crowd, in fact if everyone had come that normally comes, there would have been 29 people there. However we were missing a few, so there were only 22. It was very nice to meet the Macburnies, a family who used to come to our church but had moved out west for a few years. They've moved back, so while I had never met them personally I had heard lots about them, and it was nice to meet them. After church my sweet husband surprised me with a ridiculous and mildly suggestive Valentines card, the contents of which will not be repeated on the internet. I hadn't really expected him to get me anything, so I was shocked and slightly embarrassed. But it made me laugh. A few minutes later when I was nursing the baby he brought out a box of lindor chocolates, my favourite! Another surprise, that sweetheart! Then everyone started arriving for lunch and we had a wonderful afternoon of visiting and laughing. After everyone left Cory took charge of baby boy again and let me take a nap, but just before I fell asleep he came back into our room. He'd bought me hairbands, which were really cute, and a straightener! Not your typical valentine's gift, but I was so pleased because I'd been kind of wanting a hair straightener for a couple of months now but every time I went to look at them I could never justify it in my mind, so I never got one. Unlike in high school - where if I wanted something and had the money, I bought it - I now have other priorities. So I was so happy he got me one, because I probably never would have bought one on my own! Another completely unexpected gift! After my nap we went to evening service at church, while I thought that the gifts were done. Little did I know. After we got home Cory brought out smoked oysters, and sparkling wine, and while we cuddled on the couch enjoying that he brought out ANOTHER small box... earrings! Beautiful, elegant earrings. I have the best husband in the world.
And I still have dinner to look forward to - back at Christmas Cory won a gift certificate to Granan's in a draw at work, which is too expensive for us normally but with this we'll be able to go. So excited! My husband is so great!

Postscript: I wish there were some way to inform the whole world at one time that it's called Valentine's Day, not Valentime's Day. But there isn't. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Garlic, TV and right-handedness.

I've watched parents of older children (say, two or three), try to figure out whether their child is going to be right-handed or left-handed. Analyzing which hand they use for various activities... colouring, throwing a ball, etc. However with Eli, I will not have that opportunity. He's made it clear from about two months old that he is extremely right-handed. At first he would only use his right hand at all, and no attempts to convince him to use his left would work. While he will use it a bit more now, I still frequently have to remind him that it exists. He tends to get it worked down to his side while sitting in the high chair or jumperoo and then is frustrated that he can't pick up his toys. When I pull his left arm out from underneath him and put a toy in it, the look on his face is so precious! "Oh! Look at that!" Then he looks up at me exited to show me that he can now shove his toy into his mouth.

He will be five months old on Saturday. Time's gone by so fast! He's so handsome, and happy, he's a joy to be around. The chubby cheeks make me giggle, and he's so much more responsive than he used to be. When I stagger into his room at 3:00 in the morning for a feeding he looks up at me from his crib and his whole face lights up, he's so happy to see me. "She came!!" I love that I can put him down at eight now, and count on him not getting up for a good 7 or 8 hours. It's nice to have that time to spend with Cory.

In other news, we moved the TV into the living room. Shock, horror! We've had the TV since we moved in, but have actually never watched it. With no cable, no DVD player and crappy reception on the three channels we did kind of get, we just left it unplugged in the office, only occasionally plugging it in when the kids were over to play Nintendo. I was actually kind of proud of this fact, not having a TV seems so hip and granola. But the Olympics are coming up, and Lynn gave us an old DVD player and an antenna, so we get slightly better reception and as soon as we get an adaptor to hook up the DVD player we'll watch movies on that instead of the laptop. We both wanted to watch the Olympics too... so that will be nice.

Last night I made a loaf of bread and some garlic butter to go with our spaghetti and caesar salad. It's funny, spaghetti is probably Cory's favourite meal, but to me it's more of a "I didn't feel like cooking tonight" kind of thing, unless I make my own spaghetti sauce. But I usually just use the stuff in a jar (spinach and cheese is my favourite!). So last night to feel more gourmet I made a loaf of white bread. I hate the white bread that you buy at the grocery store, but the homemade stuff? Oh wow oh wow. I also made some garlic butter - last time I made it I just mixed garlic powder and dehydrated parsely in with some butter, but last night I minced up some fresh garlic and fresh parsely, and it was night and day. A thousand times better! On warm white bread fresh out of the oven... fantastic. However for once I wished I had a garlic press. I always just chop up my garlic with a knife, it's fast and easy, but for this I wanted it really fine to mix it all in, but I don't have a press. I just took a bit longer with the knife, but I still think it would have been better to have the press. Oh well, maybe someday when I have an extra $10 floating around. Like that will ever happen.

And tonight for supper - one of my all time favourites. Sesame noodles with chicken and cucumbers. Sounds weird, but sooooooo good. Baby is tiring of Jumperoo, so I suppose this must come to a close.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Food

Over at the Resurgence blog today, which I check on a semi-regular basis, there is a new post about the top ten healthy foods you should add to your diet. I was quite pleased to see how many of them I already eat on a regular basis, namely apples, avacados, blueberries, garlic, fish, and mushrooms. I've been meaning to start eating more cabbage for a while now, I just need some good ideas of what do DO with it. I don't remember eating cabbage much as a child, and I'm just not sure what to put it in. I'll have to start experimenting. Also, I think I'll pick up some flax seeds and stir them into my granola recipe - there's a simple way to get them into my diet, since I eat granola every morning anyway. Pomegranates scare me a little bit, since they seem rather intimidating to figure out, but the internet will help me on that. Perhaps that can replace the grapes I love to munch on. I actually don't even think I've ever tried eating a pomegranate, but I LOVE pomegranate juice, so surely it can't be that far off. As for red wine - I cook with that a lot, does that count? I have a hard time stomaching the dry wines... they're very strong, but maybe eventually I'll develop a taste for them, who knows. At any rate, six out of ten ain't bad for now. I'll work on the rest of them!

Meanwhile, learning to cook is still a daily task. I love it, cooking is probably my favourite part of the day, but it can also be frustrating. Mostly just when I let ingredients go bad in the fridge... I HATE wasting stuff, but it's hard with only two people! Less and less often do I create a real flop, in fact I can't really remember the last time we hated something that I made. The other night we had spinach salad with hot bacon dressing... oh wow oh wow oh wow. I made steak bites that night too, our hands down favourite way to eat steak. Because we bought a quarter cow this year, eating beef is often an adventure. I pull some unidentifiable cut of meat out of the freezer and have to figure out what to do with it! The t-bone steakes I cook whole, but the bigger, un-named steaks I like to trim, then cut into one inch cubes. Toss them in a little flour and salt and pepper, then fry them up really quickly in super hot butter so they're still a little rare on the inside. Absolutely melt in your mouth, completely takes away that toughness that you get in a bigger steak. I also find it means we eat less of it, which is good too. Leftovers for tomorrow!

Tonight is a beef stew night. I sort of blended together the boeuf bourguignon recipe by Julia Child that I'm sure everyone who even remotely likes to cook has attempted since watching that movie, and PW's Beef Stew with Mushrooms. The Julia Child recipe is ridiculously complex and has way too many steps, but I like the larger variety of ingredients. So sort of like... her ingredients, with PW's preparation method. But cooked way way longer, so the beef is tender. And served on brown rice. Perfection. I made it once before and we almost died it was so delicious. Can't wait to have it again tonight! Now off to trim some beef...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jesus


For Christmas this year, I bought Eli the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. What an excellent decision that was! It's the most beautiful children's Bible I've ever had the pleasure of reading. So many children's Bible's are merely based on the individual stories in the Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones takes the entire story of God's sovereign plan of redemption through Christ and weaves it through the entire thing. The subtitle is "Every story whispers his name," and it really does! She ends every single tale, Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion's Den, Jonah and the Big Fish, etc., by showing simply and beautifully how that individual story ties in to the bigger picture of God's plan for his people. She doesn't hesistate to present the truths of the Scripture as they really happened, but the book is simple enough for little ones to understand.
Ok... not my little one, quite yet, but that doesn't stop me from reading it to him every single day! He screams while I read. Not angry screams, and not really happy shrieks either - just random yelling. I'm not sure why he does that, but I just ignore him and keep going. I often get choked up as I read it to him, the truth of the Bible is so simple that a little child could understand it, but it's so beautiful that it moves me - who has grown up hearing the word of God all my life - to tears sometimes. The way she writes the Lord's Prayer is especially beautiful. I love the Lord's Prayer, but it can become so rote and dry. She writes:

Hello Daddy!
We want to know you.
And be close to you.
Please show us how.
Make everything in the world right again.
And in our hearts, too.
Do what is best - just like you do in heaven.
And please do it down here, too.
Please give us everything we need today.
Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you.
Forgive us just as we forgive other people
when they hurt us.
Rescue us! We need you.
We don't want to keep running away
and hiding from you.
Keep us safe from our enemies.
You're strong God.
You can do whatever you want.
You are in charge.
Now and forever and for always!
We think you're great!
Amen!
Yes we do!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas

A week away means I haven't been updating - we just got back last night from 10 whole lovely days with the family in NS. It was a really great Christmas - last year I missed my family a LOT, which made it harder. This year, while I still missed them and was excited to see them, I have my own family too, so it was easier.

We were showered with gifts this year, I still feel a bit overwhelmed at how much STUFF we were given! Favourite gifts came from my darling husband who got me: an ADORABLE Christmas card with a very cute message inside; the PW cookbook; and, best of all - this set of pots. They are beautiful, beautiful things. I was SO excited to open that box! We got other great things too, Lynn bought us new cordless phones so we can throw out our old ones, which are total junk. Don't go cheap on cordless phones anyone... ours are so shot that you have to hold your head right by the base in order to talk. I'm excited to get these new ones set up!

My gifts for my mom and my sisters didn't arrive before Christmas, and in fact they STILL haven't arrived. I'm getting very, very annoyed. I ordered them the end of November. It's January, for crying out loud! I sure hope I like them when they DO finally come.

I bought Cory the ESV Study Bible that he's been asking for for months. I think he's enjoying it so far! Eli got some adorable new clothes, nice books, and toys. All in all, it was a really great Christmas. But those pots... oh those pots...

And I still have some Christmas money left! We got Cory a new winter jacket...


UPDATE: So obviously I started writing this post... er... about a month ago when I got interrupted by a hungry baby and never finished it. So I'm just going to say to heck with it, and upload it anyway in all its half-finished glory. We'll return to our regularly scheduled program after this interruption.