Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Look what we woke up to!!!


Well I'm a homeschooler so it's not like a snow day should affect us in any real way, but it does. With all the beautiful glistening white play area beckoning just outside the windows, it's almost impossible to get any school work done...and why should we?! The kids suited up and went out!

In my defense:) the snow won't last that long here on the west coast so you have to enjoy it while you can. Hopefully it will stay for a couple of days but there are not guarantees!

Even the dog got into the action...

She loved it! Crazy mutt! Jumping and sniffing and eating the strange white stuff.

They were red, cold and very very happy.

Yummy warm soup on a cold snowy day!

The neighbor kids got to stay home too which is an extra treat so back into their gear and back outside them went!

I've had a couple of uninterrupted hours to vacuum and clean (and blog, but I finished my work first!). We have good friends coming tomorrow, with their 8 kids,to stay for a couple of days so this time to clean and organized was very appreciated!

There is nothing like old friends and I can't wait to share and laugh and pray together. (if we have a moment of quiet which is doubtful with 12 kids running around). We haven't spent any time together for over year and I miss them!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another week...another crazy amount of food prep...

How do you keep your food bill down? Do you try? Is this an issue for you?

We're a family of six so naturally we eat more than, say the average family although most of us (Isaac and Amelia I'm looking at you!) eat almost nothing. It's more like an average family of 4 or 5 but whatever.
I'm not a crazy health food lady by any stretch but I try to feed everyone as nutritiously as I can. I try to feed them whole foods and lots of fruit and veggies (Okay so I do have nuggets and fries in my freezer but other than that...)

I drive out to a special grain store to by my freshly ground organic flour (look I'm not insane, it's just not that far from my house.) I try to by local, organic and fresh as much as possible. I'm not independently wealthy, however, so there is a limit to all of this of course.

I'm just finding we are struggling to stay within our food budget every month. Granted we have tons and I mean tons of company ... but I love to bake so I don't buy much prepared stuff. We also don't eat out very often. Have you take 4 + kids out to eat lately? It's expensive and not at all my idea of fun! It costs us almost $30 at Tims or Wendy's and to quote my husband, "it's like paying for the privilege of being in a food fight." I don't think it's quite as bad anymore but we still throw too much away for me to justify the whole thing very often.

I probably feed my brood plus at least 2 or 3 others at least three times a week and I feed 14 (the size of our extended family that lives near us) probably weekly. Plus we have company that comes to stay once a month.

I refuse to stop doing this.

I love that people feel they can come, hang out and stay for a meal. I like feeding people, which if you knew me when I first go married, you would be surprised to hear. I could just barely make toast and ... I'm NOT joking! I see it as a way to create community. It's not fun to prepare everything but it's a blast to have everyone over and get to know people better.

I'd love to hear any tips, websites, recipes that you swear by...leave them in the comments. It will be greatly appreciated. I have a link to an amazing recipe blog on my side bar. Her pot roast is to die for!!! Actually everything I've tried has been great!

Oh and I have one last question. Why when I have a house full of food, do my teen son and nephews think there's "nothing good to eat", if we don't have chips???!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Details, details....

I was so proud of myself I just had to share this. I know I'm probably over my limit on birthday posts but it took up so much of my time this weekend, what's a girl to do?!



(Yes Chey. That is a NEW bag of Mini Eggs. I didn't even eat most of them...baby steps!)

I've never attempted anything like this before, mostly because I'm notoriously bad at decorating cakes. Don't get me wrong, they're always super yummy but in the looks department, they fail miserably. I realize these ones are pretty amateur to the the seasoned pro but for me...they're as close to perfect as it gets.

The big problem is...
1. I'm not really a details person
2. I'm not a perfectionist...
3. I'm a procrastinator.

I marvel at people who are able to think of the minutia and who care to pull it off. You know her, the lady who remembers to paint her toes or who remembers that you might need a thank you card two weeks into your vacation...someone like that. I'm the one who forgets to bring my toothbrush or a hair elastic or underwear.

I figured it out though, as far as the cakes go. Do as much before hand as you possible can, freeze the layers and decorate frozen. It's amazing how well this works. It can be applied in all sorts of situations actually. If you get as much done before the actual event, you're much less likely to forget something. It seems my mother was right (again) after all!

I did almost forget to serve the cake though! BUT that's another story....

Click here for my inspiration...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Amelia!!

I'm a day late with this but we had such a day yesterday, full of kids and cake and family and love.

She was terribly excited. Maybe I'll get time to post some pictures of the madness....

I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate my baby as she moves from toddler-hood to preschooler. She's moving away from baby-hood at break neck speed. It's bittersweet for me. I've never been one to wish my kids were younger than they are or that they'd stay small but at the same time I'm aware of how fast the years are going by. Please, Lord give us the wisdom to raise her to know who she is and how to be that with grace.

Here she is on the day of her birth.

Welcome to the world Amelia Lillian....5 lbs 14 ozs
January 21, 2004


Getting love on her first birthday from her big bro.'s.... (2005)


My big two year old....(2006)


I couldn't find one of her turning 3 so here she is just before her third birthday, decorating cookies for Christmas .... (2007)


And here is our birthday princess and her attendants yesterday....(ignore the background disaster)...


And opening the Polly's at the night time party...(2008)


She asked me this morning if she could take Jazz dance now (like her sister) or be on the soccer team? The problem with being the youngest is you have to wait for things a lot!

We love you our four year old. Enjoy every moment and don't try to get older too fast:)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Celebrating the smallest all weekend....

We have a funny phrase in our family. We don't just have birthdays, we have "birthday weeks" or "birthday months". So this is our youngest girlie's birthday week. I can not believe that four years ago I looked something like this...

and she looked like this....


I was so anxious to meet her and find out what that girlie who'd been kicking and moving around in me was really like. She's still dancing up a storm and now we can't imagine our lives without her joy and energy.

She's pretty excited about celebrating her birthday with Grandma and Grandpa Reid this weekend.


Getting up in the morning and opening some presents with her peeps...(that's for my gangsta boy in his gangsta hat...what is up with those hats anyway?!)


trying on the new clothes...

getting into the new chef wear...
and helping mom make the cake...

Then, of course, after Chinese food and laughter and love...

"Happy Birthday to You..."



Amelia Lillian we love you more than you can know! Happy Birthday week to you my precious girlie!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

counting all kinds of blessings.....

My kids have no idea the amazing life they have and nor should they really, they're just kids living their lives. But it is great! They're safe and happy and loved.

They're surrounded by love actually.

Why am I even thinking about this? My mom and dad just sent these pictures taken while they were here for Christmas. Because the boys had friends coming from out of town Grandma and Grandpa decided to take the girls on a special trip to ride the "horses". It was amazing! They talked about the cool old carousel and how it was restored (I guess there was a movie) for weeks.

I mean how great does this look?!

Grandma and Amelia

Grandpa and the girls going around and around

Maddy and her new friend.


Although, I don't have any pictures because I'm kind of out of picture mode these days, (I spend months documenting everything and then inexplicably I'm just done) the younger kids spent the day on Friday with their Grandparents on my husbands side. They are still talking about it today. Secret plans for Valentine's Day and long tea parties and rides on the swing were had by all.

....surrounded by love....

Both sides of our family love and treasure them as intensely as we do! It's so great for the kids because they feel totally loved and cherished and it's so great for me because it takes some of the pressure off . I don't have to be quite as fun cuz that's Grandma's job - both Grandmas. (and Grandpa too but these days it's mostly about Grandma- don't you worry Grandpas, your time will come...)

It works great for everyone and the kids win! Thank you Lord for Grandma's and Grandpas! YAY!

(edited Jan 17 to answer Chey's question)
The carousel is in Burnaby Heritage Park. It's been totally refurbished and costs $2 a ride although I believe you can buy a pass.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hopefully I'm doing this right...

Okay so I've never done one of these bloggy mems??? (is that really what they're called?) but seeing that I love to talk and especially about myself....here goes.

The rules are as follows: Simply link to the person who tagged you. SHARE SEVEN WEIRD things about yourself. Tag SEVEN bloggers to do the same AND include a link to their blog. Let each person know that they have been tagged and finally post the rules on your blog.

Miss Sniz, who rocks btw, tagged me. Check her out, oh and her hilarious hubby too. Totally funny guy.

Now I'm pretty open about how truely strange I am BUT the reason this took so long for me to actually do is...I can't think under pressure. NOT AT ALL! So I couldn't think of anything weird...

1. which brings me to #1....sometimes when I'm asked, many (and I mean many) times I can not remember my phone number. I'll remember one from years ago but not the current one. This can also happen with my address. Why does this happen to me? HELP!

2. I didn't realize this was a problem until I actually read it on Sniz's list but, I'm a loud cell phone talker too. I go one beyond though an sometimes forget people around me can hear me at all. Like I'm in my own personal bubble.

3. I can't sleep well if I'm naked. I have no idea why and I've tried but I just can't.

4. I can't sing. Not at all. NOT A NOTE. Don't ask, it's a terrible thing!

5. I am a terrible coffee snob. I can't have anything in it, no flavor, no booze, no cream...nothing. and it MUST be dark roast. YUM!

6. I really can't spell. It's so strange because I read very well, am pretty well spoken BUT my spelling is terrible!

7. I love to re-read books. When i was a kid I used to read the Secret Garden and the Narnia series all the time. It was like comfort food for me. I still love to read them from time to time...

I would love to read some of my fav blogger's weirdnesses, bared for all to see so...
Kristen, Cheaty, Chey, Lori, Kellen

I read loads more but that's all I got time for today.
I'm trying to spend more time on the whole homeschooling thing and less on this. Obviously, it's not going well ;)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Normal goings on for my crazy house....

I almost forgot to even take photos or even mention this. It's been so common place in my life over the 7 or 8 years we've been home owners that I hardly even notice anymore.

The day after (thank you hubby for waiting!) our big party for all his cousins, my husband took a wall out! I think it helps him relax and although the process is NOT relaxing for me, I love the final results.

I'm sure I mentioned this but we didn't by our dream property for the house. In fact our pet name for the place even before we'd put an offer on it was "the crazy house".

I remember telling everyone, "Hey we bought the crazy house." and they totally knew what I was talking about. We try to play up the yard....which is why we bought the place. After living in Calgary for 8 years, it feels like paradise!
part of the back yard
part of the front

Back to the house....
It was painted all different colors inside, like some insane preschooler got to pick the paint and carpeting. One basement room was purple, one was a pink and a reddish brown carpet covered the play room floor (these rooms all connected) and don't forget the chandelier dangling in the entry or the mural wallpaper in the office. We had a planter built into the living room, crazy disco lights and more than a couple of structural issues. Nothing too serious but I'm sure whoever did the last few renovations had never heard of a level. It wasn't even like he/she eyeballed it...sorta seems like they just leaned it up and nailed it in. Needless to say, it needed some work before we could move in. My hubby did as much as he could in the 6 weeks before we came out but there it sat, mostly unfinished.

We don't plan to keep the house so it seems foolish to spend too much on any major renovations, however I've been finding the kitchen increasingly hard to live with ... so that's pretty much brings up up to the wall removal.

Now you see it...(sorry couldn't find one without kids in it. We never think to actually take real before pictures.)

now you don't...(please don't look into my poor door-less pantry and crazy horrible fridge - yikes)

Way better for having 25 people over! Not the same congestion around the table and kitchen which is where everyone seems to want to be.

Oh and then there was the door to the deck that wouldn't close properly or stay closed or seal.
So he did that today. You can tell from these pictures that there were many projects that came before this one and many that will come after.

all in....

And here are the dogs. See our dog Bree and how happy she is to have cousin Molly over?!
We had to put them behind the gate because they kept trying to eat the wood chips and nails and yucky old insulation. The gate sort of keeps the kids downstairs too... okay it doesn't really but it makes them have to slow down as they race through the dining room.

We have a plan to do a complete addition and renovation but these are still a few years out, until then this should help me use my space a bit better. It aint perty but it works ;-)

I'm very thankful to be married to a handy kinda guy. Stay tuned for more from "the crazy house".....

Saturday, January 5, 2008

WARNING!!! whining about weight ahead.....


I've gained 4 lbs this holiday season. I know 4 lbs sounds like nothing, like something I could loose in a weekend but...what if I don't? And why does the terror of this not drive me to drink water and eat carrots? And 4 lbs is a lot if you're running 10 km +. It feels like boulders in your a$s, like each leg now suddenly wears ankle weights. Ugh!

So mission January is ... loose the 4 lbs! Just when I was getting used to the odd Black Russian at night - poo!

...and in other random news....

I'm off to buy new shoes and to sign up for those 10 Km runs that are on my Jan. goal list. If I actually pay for the races, I can't back out OR that's the theory anyway! I'm still in a bit of shock that I'm still running after a year.

Last year at this time me, my sil and her sil all started Weight watchers together. I needed to shed those last 10 -15lbs for good and they both needed to loose 30. .. Amazingly we did it!

Here they are the fab girls, now a combined 60 lbs lighter. I found a nice before one of Randa from a year ago, double chin and all BUT .... she knows where I live!

Ange and Randa celebrating the big 3 - 7 for Ange. I'm behind the camera:)

Last year we started to run together. Slowly at first but eventually added more and more km's and more often until we were running 11 km - 3 times a week together and doing our own thing on the other days.

Despite the 4 lbs I've replaced over Christmas I feel great! Better than I have in years:)

...in other unrelated news....

This is Molly. We're dog sitting her this weekend much to our pooches joy and excitement!
She's our cousin dog so family, really.

We hope to teach our doggies to run with us:) Eventually we'll all be running fools:)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

yet another New Year post and other random stuff...

Here's a pic me and the kids with my mom and dad for Christmas dinner.
I'm not sure where my bro was ... hubby is the super duper photographer.

Have I told you how much I love the new year?

I feel the same way when I get a new book or make a new friend. It's all shiny and new and anything is possible. Because it's a new year I can loose 20 lbs, or make a new great habit or learn a new language or because fabulously rich. ha ha. Of course these things aren't going to happen and if I'm truthful I don't even want them too but it's just the possibility of it all. It's like leaving for a holiday, getting up early and getting into the car. I'm all tingly with the expectation of it all:)

I love it! Obviously I'm one of those cup is half full people so please bare with me!

What brought all this delayed happiness on you ask? Well, I feel like our real 2008 is finally starting. Hubby and I try to go out on New Years Eve and write down our family and personal goals for the year, have some yummy food and some great uninterrupted talk (with 4 kids this is harder to come by they you might think). Since we moved here, nearer to family, my holiday has become less about Kev and I as a couple and more about me focusing on our company and hosting various events. I love it but it leaves very little time for planning and talking. We also don't spend the evening alone anymore. We're adjusting our traditions so....

Today we went out for sushi at lunch and did our pow wow ... and my mom and dad finally left to go home. As much as I love my mom and dad, it's great to be just us again after two weeks of company and events. Here's hoping we can get the kids back into the habit of going to bed and getting up at regular times....okay and myself too!

One of my personal goals this year to to run at least 2 - 10 km races. I've managed in all the craziness to maintain my running schedule so of that I'm very proud.

What are your New Year traditions? Do you set goals?
I hate the whole resolution thing. I was never good at keeping them and find goals much friendlier. I'm sure it's just semantics; please don't burst my bubble!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Onward and upward into a new year....

2008! wow!

I feel like an old timer saying this but time is literally flying by. Now it years instead of days that seem to just slip through my fingers.

2006 ended our time in Alberta and brought us back to BC. It saw us buy our dream property and attempt to get settled on the West coast.

2007 continued our journey. We made some major changes in our financial life, took on a lot of risk and learned some hard lessons about partners. (If I sound a bit cagey on this one, it's on purpose. It wasn't a fun time but hopefully lessons hard learned are the ones that stay with us!)
We also began the huge project that is our "dream property". When I speak of it in this way, I'm thinking of what it could be not what it is at this minute. At this moment it's lovely but...needs tons of work.

Here's the new driveway we put in, in the spring....

I love history. Of all kinds. I think it's important to look back as nations and as individuals in order to move forward. I love seeing God's hand in our lives. When I'm right in the moment I don't always see it but when I look back I can see His purpose being realized in our lives.

I wish everyone a Happy beginning to 2008. I hope this year brings you joy and new possibilities. Every year brings some new adventure. I just have to remind myself that adventures are not supposed to be safe:)

Happy New Year!!!