Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Just Had to Share

We had pork tenderloin for supper tonight and it was sooooooooooo good that I just have to share it with you.  The picture does not do justice.  It was oh-so-tender-and-delicious.  And I will also share the recipe because I'm just that nice.

1        tsp      Chili Powder
1/2     tsp      Paprika
1 1/2  tsp      Salt
1/2     tsp      Pepper
1/2     tsp      Cumin
1/2     tsp      Cinnamon
4-7ish           Strips of Bacon, cut in half
Combine the above ingredients and pat all over the pork.  Put the pork into a roaster and cover the pork with the bacon strips.  Add a little water and put in a 325 F oven. Let cook for about...2ish hours.  Add the carrots and cook for another 15-20ish minutes.
1      cup      Brown Sugar
2      tbsp     Flour
2      tbsp     Cider Vinegar
1/2   tsp       Dry Mustard
Combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and heat.  Pour some over the pork.  I didn't use it all; in fact I think I used less than half, but the original recipe used it all so I put it up there for your own discretion.  I am going to freeze my leftover glaze for the next time.  Cook the roast for another half-hour-ish.  Take out and enjoy!
Sorry about all the "ish"es.  I am a very random cook so I don't really have set times for anything.  If it's done, it's done.  I hope you all make this and enjoy it.  My hubs couldn't stop raving about it tonight.  
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Glittering Leaves of Fall

About a month or so ago I read a post at The Homeschool Classroom about a glitter-tree craft that I stored away in my brain to do with Abby.  We finally got around to it this week.  (I had completely forgotten on what site I found this so I had to go digging through my Reader looking for it.  Of course it was one of the ones at the bottom.)

She liked to pour a lot of glue on, without smearing it around much.

So decisive about which colour to pick.
Right at the end she got a little distracted and wasn't as interested in glittering the leaves as she was in pointing to and naming various body parts.

Like armpits, for example.

It was actually really simple to do, and since I used an old cookie sheet, there really wasn't any mess.  The only part that I found hard was drawing the leaves onto the cardboard.  I am not an artist, so we just got leaves that were the basic tear shape.  I did attempt a maple leaf, but they looked so pathetic I didn't have the heart to cut them out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Motive Behind the Prayer

I am so thankful that we have an interactive God, not just some stone/wood idol that sits on the shelf and does nothing else.  Yes, it does require more effort serving my God, but the benefits are eternal.  What He has been speaking to me last was about reasons and motivations for worshipping Him.  He showed me that in my heart I was only worshipping Him for the benefits to myself. 

Like I know that God is the only one who can change me and my heart.  I am constantly stressed.  So I go to Him because I want Him to unstress me.  I need an attitude change.  I go to Him.  Yes we need to be going to Him not ourselves or any other human.  But God is God!  He deserves to be worshipped just because He is. 

There should be no other reason.  He is awesome.  He is righteous.  He is holy.  I could go on and on.  And I shouldn't be coming to Him for my selfish reasons.  I need to praise Him for being Him.  And if my problems never get fixed, that is inconsequential.  But that isn't likely to happen, because if I consistently praise God, and keep my attitude about Him right, the rest of my life will fall into alignment.  Because by focussing on God, I am focusing on the most important thing and also am feeding my spirit.  And a helthy spirit will definitely improve my mind and body.

So my encouragement to everyone is to take a break from our petitions to God, and to just think about who He is.  It is a thought that is too big for me, and I could think about it all day and still not get my mind around Him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Now It Feels Like Summer is Truly Over

Yesterday we pulled up the remnants of our garden.  I kind of felt sad doing it, even though the plants were all mostly dead from frost anyways.  Earlier in the week I had harvested the last row of potatoes, and got 24 lbs.  That made me happy.  I had enough carrots left for one last beef pot pie last night (we didn't get a very big carrot crop).  I have frozen beans in the freezer, but only enough for about 2 meals since the crop came late.  And I have been blanching, peeling, seeding, chopping, and freezing tomatoes to save for tomato sauce.  I have around 3.5 lbs frozen and had hoped to get another 5-7 lbs, but we lost a lot of tomatoes to frost.  I brought some green ones inside to try to ripen them here, but I've never done that so I hope it works!  I put them in a box with a banana.  Cross my fingers.

I have to admit that I am what I call a minimalist gardener.  I really like the idea of a garden and enjoy working in it, but I also don't want too much trouble.  I weed for the first couple months but after that I tend to let it go.  I enjoy eating the produce, but am not going to kill myself with tons and tons of different vegetables, and I can't since I don't have a ton of room anyways.  I turned a hillside flower bed into my vegetable garden.  Maybe it doesn't look as pretty, but I like the look of practicality.

My gigantic potato plants with the carrots at the bottom
Potatoes on the right, tomatoes just visible on the left with my onions in the middle on the bottom (I don't want to talk about the onions)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stressful Thoughts Spill Out

I feel like such a newbie to this homeschooling thing, which I am, so feeling like one should be normal.  But I hate this feeling!  I feel so lost and wondering if I'm doing enough, or if I'm doing the right kinds of activities, or just plain doing it right.  I think that the stress I feel of this is comes back to something I have dealt with, well probably all my life.  I expect myself to be perfect at anything I try and do.  Seriously.  My first time snowboarding, I spent half an hour at the top of hill, yelling at God because I was losing my balance. 

But I have read enough books and blogs and other such wisdom to know that there is no "right" way, and that the first year or two is always hard to find a rhythym.  It is all about being flexible and constantly reevaluating where I and the girls are at. 

Maybe I am stressing about what a responsibility it is.  Teaching my own daughter!  Not just academics, but life skills, character-building skills.  What if I screw up?! 

Okay, it's time to calm myself down.  Today I checked off almost all my list of the activities to do with Abby.  The only one we didn't do was a glitter-tree craft, and I am ok with that since I had forgotten to prep some materials anyways.  Doing the worksheets went well, but first the getting her to sit at the table with me was a fight.  Well actually she came fine for the colouring, but I wanted to do a lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and she didn't want to come for that.  I had to discipline her for not listening to me and so she ended up throwing a big fit and running to her room. 

Will it always be a fight?  Or will she eventually get used to doing lessons with me?  I hope so otherwise we are in for some stressful days.

I also have been wondering if I have too many colouring activities/worksheets.  A lot of the stuff we do for math and language stuff is colouring sheets, or circle the correct answer type of things.  Should I be looking into more things.  Probably. 

Sorry for how random and crazy my thoughts are today.  I'm just writing how I'm thinking.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Wiggly Weekend

What a weekend!  And it's still Sunday.  It feels like it should be Monday, but that is because we started our weekend on Friday.  We went to Calgary, which is 5 hours away, for The Wiggly Circus!  My mom and step-dad had given Abby and Leigh tickets for an early Christmas present.  This is the closest they would be to us. 

Our plan was to head out Friday morning between 9:30 and 10, to get there an hour or so before the show began so that we would have time to check into our hotel and get unloaded.  Well, the travel there went fine, but we hit the city right at rush hour.  Poor planning on my part.  Obviously I am a small town girl because I totally didn't even have the smallest thought about rush hour.  It took us almost an hour to get from the outskirts of town to our hotel.  I was worried that we wouldn't make it to the show on time, but we did. 

We had seats on the floor, so after an attempt to make it down, only to have to to walk back up a bunch of stairs, we made it down and finally found our seats.  We were in row 15, so fairly close, though definately not the closest.  But our seats were half the price of the seats closer so I didn't care.  It started soon after we sat down and it was FUN! 

Murray Wiggle (Red) wasn't there because of some family commitments, but his substitute did very well.  Leigh loved the whole thing.  She stood on Mark 's lap, and sometimes mine, almost the entire time, bouncing and waving her arms.  Abby was a little more subdued.  She loved the gymnastics, and the slapsticky humour, and liked it when she recognized songs, but she was very cranky, especially after the first half hour.  She didn't want us to notice any dancing or clapping that she did, and half the time she would just sit on the chair, not even wanting to sit on our laps, or stand up to see better.  But I know that she gets shy around strangers, and I think sitting around so many strange people did make her a little self-conscious.

They did lots of older songs, a few new ones, and some ones that I hadn't heard before.  I wish that they would have had a few more newer ones, but that isn't anything to complain about.  Kids everywhere in the arena were bouncing and dancing.  It was a great time overall.  Near the end they had everyone who had brought a sign hold it up and they tried to read them all.  That was a nice interactive thing with the audience. 

I forgot my camera at home and I am so frustrated that I did!  What a waste of a perfect opportunity for some pictures to remember!  But I will post this picture of the activity sheet that we got there.  At least it's a little taste of our night.

The concert went well, but I can't say much else for the rest of the trip.  Our hotel was fine, we had a family suite so the girls had their own room.  We ordered some room service for supper, and the food was really tasty.  But Mark and I were at each other's throats all night.  Abby had a bad night, and I ended up spending the last half of it with her.  I woke up with a huge, and I mean huge, headache/migraine.  So Mark and I were at it again.  Fighting, fighting, fighting.  I felt ill and couldn't even think of eating. 

We had planned on taking the girls to the zoo, but since I wasn't feeling good we decided to skip it.  We just headed out on the road.  I was able to give Mark directions out of downtown, and once we were on the freeway I tried to block out the world and sleep.  I didn't sleep, but we stopped in a town a little ways outside the city and Mark picked me up some pop and crackers.  I ended up being sick there, but after eating the pop and crackers, along with some Advil, I felt much better, and we had a fairly easy ride home.

I think that the concert was fun for the girls, even though I don't think they remember it at all now.  I would most definitely take them to something like that again, though maybe as part of a longer trip; I didn't like the quickness of this, drive there then drive right back.  I enjoyed the show for my own sake, since the Wiggles are my favourite kid's show I think. 

Today we cleaned up our front "yard" (I always feel funny calling it a yard, since it is so tiny, like a closet bathroom size).  We also dug up the last of our potatoes.  I am happy with my potato crop this year, I have been digging them up whenever I need them, and the potatoes have been a fairly good size.  These last ones were especially big.  I have a few carrots left, though not many.  And I am praying that the rest of my tomatoes ripen before they are killed by the frost. 

So that was our weekend.  Hope everyone else's was good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Non-Silent Reading

The girls are always asking me to read them books, and I try to make sure that we read quite a few throughout the day.  Leigh doesn't have the patience for a book with lots of words, but Abby likes those ones.  I definately like it when there are more words, not just two to a page; that irritates me for some reason. 

But whenever we sit down together on the couch, or whereever we happen to be, once I start reading, the girls start commentating on the story.  Loudly.


"BA, BA, PU, PU"


"DA, DA, DA, DA"

This goes on the entire time.  Since they are talking so loudly, I talk even louder so that I can be heard above them, until I am practically yelling the story out.  This is definitely annoying, and it tries my patience.  I am glad that they are interacting with the story, but why even bother to get me to read when they will just talk the entire time? 

A quiet moment of 'reading' to herself

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Have Decided and It Will Begin in the Morning

I have needed a big kick in the butt to start losing weight, and tomorrow morning I am self-administering that kickstart.  I have wavered with tons of indecision and been tossed between this diet or that one.  I debated Weight Watchers, Weighdown, the Special K diet, Atkins, low-fat diets, and possibly all other ones.  And this indecision has caused me to not stick with anything, and therefore to not lose any weight.

Well no longer.  I have decided that I just have to pick something and run with it.  So tomorrow I start running (figuratively) with the Atkin's Diet.  I didn't pick it because it would be the easiest for me; far from that, actually, it will probably be the hardest one for me.  Cutting out carbs, since a LOT of food that I like (or love) come into that list.  But it seems like a good fit to me.  When I think of it, I think that this is where I am hung up, with carbs.  So I am bravely attempting it.

I will (again) start attending the deep water aqua fit class.  I have been to classes before, and I enjoy the workout I get.  I feel invigorated and happy at the end.  I will try to take up walking more again with the girls, but since winter is approaching that probably won't last long.  So I will keep updating on how it goes, and hopefully I will have something to show for it (or rather a loss of something).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Who Couldn't Love These Faces?

Tonight I am thinking about my girls and how much I love them, and I wanted to introduce them to you.

Here is Abby:

My 3-year-old, who should still be a baby because it can't be three years yet, can it?  She is such a character, I could watch and lsiten to her play for hours.  She has quite the imaginztion, with her best friends at the moment being her hand puppets (really, they are just her hands) who always fall off high cliffs and usually beat up on me.

She does a hilarious deep, growly bossy voice that must be accompanied by a hard poke to the victim's (usually Daddy's) chest.

She has become so much more affectionate this year.  She still is very active and will run around outside for hours, but she also likes to curl up on the couch or in bed and pretend to sleep while you really try to sleep.

When she finally does go to sleep at the end of the day, it makes my heart hurt, it's so full of love, to watch her.  I like to crawl into her bed then.  In her sleepy state she is super cuddly and there is nothing like feelig her skinny little arms around my neck, holding me close.

And this is Leigh:

Her smiles are to die for.  I love this age because it is so easy to make her smile, and laugh!  Oh, her laughs are so cute.  Mark and I gush non-stop over how cute her giggles are.

I love having the sister dynamic with her.  She puts up with all of Abby's 'love' (like hair pulling, and big bear hugs that knock her over) and always wants to be doing what Abby is doing.  She learned to bounce and jump from Abby, and now when I get her from her crib, she is always jumping up and down saying "Ju, ju, ju, ju."

She is more cautious than Abby was; she doesn't like to feel unsafe.  Yet I can see her getting braver, venturing out of her zone, though sometimes too far, like onto the road.

Her eyes remind me of my husband's.  I look at her and I see him in her so much and it makes me love her all the more.  I can't wait for her to keep growing so I can see how beautiful she is going to be, because I know she will be a knockout.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Once I Think About It, It's Not a Life or Death Problem so I Shouldn't Stress so Much About It

I am in the middle of a personal dilemma.  Actually, I always seem to have dilemmas, but let's focus on just one at a time, shall we?  Everything and everyone around me seems to be leading me to one final destination, "The Church." 

Church?  That's not bad, is it?  It's supposed to be good right?  Well, that depends on your definitions and your beliefs and your perspective, and so many other variables.  When I am talking about church here, I am speaking about the building where Christians gather on Sundays, specifically to worship and learn about God. 

I grew up in a Pentecostal church and loved it.  I had my moments where I wasn't following God wholeheartedly, but underneath it all I had a solid-rock foundation of faith.  I am so thankful that this was and is in me.  Jesus has always been my saviour and I am glad that, for whatever reasons, I stuck with my Christianity.  About 6 years ago, though, I made the decision to stop going to church.  Not because I was turning my back on my faith, but because I believed that the whole church organization was set up wrong and I didn't want to be a part of it anymore.  I attended a home fellowship for 3 years following that, until we moved down south.

There is a whole history to my leaving the organized church that I don't really have the patience to talk about today.  I will say that when I first left, I thought that church was a horrible system, and that everyone was decieved and that nothing would induce me to start attending again.  But in the years that we moved, I have slowly been changing my mind.  Overall I still don't agree with a lot of things about the church organization, but I will acknowledge that it is everyone's choice to go, and it's not such a big deal to me anymore.  I chose not to go, others chose to go.  That's that.

The last couple months, our close friends down here with the same background with the church as us, have been attending a church here.  My friend and I have gone to their Biblestudy on Tuesdays for the past couple years, so we have gotten to know several ladies in the church.  My hubs and I went to a service a couple times as well, but our friends now go almost every Sunday.  It makes me feel pressured that I should be going too.  (A fault of mine, if I haven't mentioned before, is being a people-pleaser and follower.)  Hubs has talked a lot over the last months about wishing we had more closer Christian friends to fellowship with.  The crew that he works with are believers, but two of them are strict Mennonites, and the other fellow is also of a conservative bent, so while they have very good talks and discussions, he would like some more people of a like mind, more charasmatic that is to say.

So he and I have talked lots about occasionally attending a church or something like that.  And here we get to the issue that is irritating me, like a stick poking into my side.  I don't feel a deisre, or even a need to go to any Sunday services.  And I don't feel guilty for feeling this way either.  Abby does well when we go to a service, she goes to Sunday School, and sits quietly, but Leigh is at the age where she just wants to go go go.  It is hard to keep her entertained the whole time.  They are starting up a nursery, but she doesn't do well when I leave her places without me.

Going to Biblestudy throughout the week is great fellowship for me, and I don't feel like I need any more.  I enjoy getting together with the ladies, and we have good discussions.  Biblestudy gives me good fellowship I feel.  But my husband doesn't get any of that.  He wants to get to know more people, and now he feels like he would like to go to a service a little more often.

I don't know how I feel.  He has said that his going doesn't obligate me to go.  But I feel that if he goes, I should go, for a couple reasons.  I would worry that people would wonder why he was going and not all of us as a family, since they actually know me better than they know him.  (Yes I know I shouldn't care what other people think or say.)  And I feel that since my hubs is the head of our house, I need to follow his leadership.  I submit to other areas that he asks me to, even if I don't feel a huge necessity to, so why should this be any different?

So can I go to church, even if I don't agree with everything in it?  Is this what God wants?  Why can't my life and relationship with God and other believers align with my ideals?