GABRIEL: A STORY OF LOSS

August 18, 2014

HOT SCHOOL LUNCHES

March 31, 2014

A few months after the start of school, Joshua and I were in a Target when we spotted this container:

According to the label it keeps hot things hot for up to 5 hours and cold things cold for up to 7 hours. At only $13.99, this made for an amazing addition to our lunch container collection. With this I was able to send Joshua to school with a multitude of meal options. Last week I sent him with two hot lunches:



1. Turkey Chili with Cheese Cubes

2. Penne with Sausage and Strawberries.

Once dinner is over, I place left overs in a separate container. When I wake up in the morning, I quickly warm it up in the microwave, then transfer it into his thermal container. Joshua loves this thing and is constantly asking me to use it. I suggest everyone getting something like this if you pack lunch for your little ones.

GUILT FREE

March 27, 2014


I suppose if I stopped to drown myself deep in thought I could find a measurable about a guilt for spending my children's young years immersed in work and school. At some point I will throw myself a life line and reel me back to shore. I'm a mother and I work full time out of the home and I'm a student. Somehow during the circus act of packing school lunches, making dinner and taking a ten minute break in order to get down on the ground and play with my boys,  I manage to squeeze out some time for text books and cuddle time with my husband. The circus seems to be pleasing the crowd, my juggling act is secure and I walk that fine tightrope line of doing a lot, getting a lot done while not doing too much.

It's all about perception. To some daycare is the dreaded "day-orphanage" as one blogger put it, but to me it's just a part of the village that helps me with these beautiful boy. Daycare raising my children? I suppose if you want to minimalize the job that parents take on and pigeon hole that into story time, arts and crafts and singing song then go ahead, my husband and I however view parenting as so much more than that. Being a stay at home parent is A LOT of work, I've been there for an accumulative 3+ years and I have see myself at both ends of the spectrum. It takes the right kind of person to do it and do it right. I am a great mother but when I stayed at home I found that I spent less quality time with my kids than I do now. I suppose I took the time I spent with them for granted, they were always around me, no need to rush to play with them. I would work through a list of thing that needed to get done, some thing didn't need to get done (like watching daytime television) but when I had the time, I would get to playing with the boys. I did get to them and I did love playing with them but not like I do now. That made me feel guilty. Now when I get home from work, I am quick to start dinner and while thats cooking I find my boys and I spend every moment loving them.

I think about the qualities that I want my children to posses. I realized that none of those were contingent on my staying at home. All that mattered was that my husband and I created a safe, loving and happy home for our boys. They are loved and cared for and not one day goes by that I don't make them feel how special they are to me. If for a minute I thought my kids needed me to be home, I would and I would do it with as much grace as I could muster, but I dont see that happening.


Right now, I focus on my boys and my husband. I focus on all that I am doing for them. I am guilt free and I write this hoping that others in my situation or similar will give themselves a break and be guilt free too. For those who are stay at home parents, Im sure there is guilt with that as well...give yourself a break! Don't let anyone tell you, that you're "wasting your life" by taking care of your family, because you're not. Your job is valuable in more ways that I can ever say! We are all doing the best we can and what is best for our family.

HOME INSPIRATION: LIVINGROOM

March 24, 2014


If you read my last Home Inspiration post you will know that I love cozy, comfy, country home decor. I have two boys who love to wrestle around, knock into things and be little kids, therefore anything that I bring into my home has to be something we can live in! At the end of the day I want to drop my body onto the couch, put my feet up and relax. I don't want to have to worry about ruining or staining anything.

These Pinterest pin really express what I'm looking for when I think about decorating my own living room. I love the red, yellow and blue color pallet! There are so many ways you can play with those colors.

What is your home style?



UNFORGETTABLE LOVE

March 23, 2014

My relationship with God is interesting. Much like the relationship I have with anyone else, I find myself learning more and more about him as time goes on. Sometimes I question his intent, his love, his divinity and his purpose for humanity. It is not uncommon for me to say "God, I don't get this? I don't get you! How can this be? Why?" and each time I question him I feel his patience and understanding and honestly I feel his appreciation for my list of questions.

Sometimes, I hate to say it but I "forget" him. He can turn into the father that you used to call a few times a week to touch base with. Maybe not multiple times a week but at least every Sunday, just to check in a say "hey!" Well church and this family have become distant relatives, the ones you only see on special occasions. My nightly prayers have turned into weekly, if that. Just like when I don't call my parents for a while, I feel like God is saying, "so...you couldn't spare two minutes to speak with me this week?" And I'll say something to the effect of, "you know I still love you right?" Actions speak louder than words.


Though I have "forgotten" him, he always shows me that I am not forgotten. Recently I went thrifting for some vinyl records (how hipster of me!). To my delight I found two Elvis Presley albums, one was his Christmas album and the other was a compilation of a few of his love songs. At $4 a piece who could say no! I ran home with them and decided to play his love songs first. To my surprise I heard a country version of "There is Power in the Blood." Someone at the store must have switched out the record with a christian hymnal album. Elvis was priced higher than the other $1.99 albums so whichever cheapskate did this, wanted to save a whole $2. That, or whoever donated it, mixed them up.

"What the...?!" I uttered as the hymnal played throughout the living room. I knew I had a look of disgust on my face, which I feel dreadful for now.

I didn't want it! I wanted to listen to Elvis. In my silence I spoke to him, saying I know I know, it's bad but Lord, I've been looking for Elvis albums everywhere! You know how much I wanted one like this. I'm just disappointed thats all.

Then I plopped down on the sofa, letting my grumpiness fade away as I listened to the song reluctantly. Soon reluctance turned into desire and my grump turned into a faint smile. I'll listen to this every sunday morning I though to myself. Just as I grew up with the sound of country gosple singers in the background of my childhood, I wanted that for my boys too. God remembered me. He knew what I needed. He knew how to reach me. I'm sure some people will say it's a silly coincidence but I tend to not believe in those.


As a christian, there are things I want to remember. I must take something more from all of this other than playing gospel on Sunday. I believe that life is a big lesson and in this lesson God was such a role model. 

He wasn't forceful
He wasn't using fear
He didn't tell me I was going to "hell"
He didn't make me feel bad
He didn't punish me
He didn't mock me
He didn't have his follower gather in circles and talk bad about me
He wasn't rude
He wasn't mean

He was love.

He simply reminded me that he was there. He showed me that I mattered.

He is love and nothing less than that.

AWKWARD SIZED FRAMES

March 20, 2014

A few months ago I had purchased these 20" x 20" Ribba frames from Ikea. When I purchased them, I failed to realize how difficult it would be to find a phot processing center that would print off square portaits (11.5" x 11.5" with the matting). I thought about printing a much larger poster size image and crop them on my own at home, however, I was too cheap to spend $28 to print four posters not to mention, I didn't know how they would look after making the adjustments. What if it didn't work? What if the pictures didn't look the way i had hoped after cutting them up? Suddenly, as if a light bulb illuminated over my head, I had an idea! Calenders were just the right size and to put the cherry on top, it was February so they would be on sale. I went to my local book store and purchased a vintage New York calender for $3. I chose this perticular calender because it was vintage New York and that happens to be my favourite city. Also it was black and white, making it look more clean, crisp and not like i spend $3 on them. I cut out the pictures out, then placed them in my fames and there you have it folks!

THE DINNER PARTY

March 17, 2014




Once in a while, while the boys are away, Aaron and I get to do grown up things. Though I am about to start the last year of my 20’s I have yet to feel a true sense of adulthood. You know the kind you imagined you would feel when you were a kid watching your mom get ready for a grown up party?

For me, arranging my first dinner party was a benchmark of adulthood. I am not exactly sure where this mentality came from, but it’s there and now that I am fresh off the heels of having hosted my first one, I would love share what worked and what has not work for me.

Re-purposing


Our home isn't exactly large enough to entertain a lot of people comfortable, nor do we have a lot of furniture to work with. Basically everything we own serves a specific purpose, therefore we had to work with what we had. For instance, much to my chagrin, we don't own a bar so we took a serving tray we had laying around and created a bar tray and placed that on our coffee table. Also, since we don't entertain all that much, we don't have a lot of serving dishes. Instead of running to the store to purchase some, we decided to grab a few mixing bowls we had laying around and boom, we now have serving bowls! I had them set up well before our guests came but left them empty. A few minutes before they were to arrive, we filled them up with chips and popcorn, something causal, simple and store bought!

The Meal

I decided to go with a dish that I have made and made well many times. Ina Garten's recipe for Roasted Chicken stuffed with lemon, thyme and garlic, on a bed of fennel and carrots. As a side I chose mashed potatoes with steamed veggies tossed in a light butter sauce. The chicken takes 1.5 hours to roast, plus it has to sit for 20 minutes after coming out of the oven. I didn't want my guest to walk in the door then head straight for the dinner table, so I timed it so that as soon as my guest were expected to arrive, there would be 20 minutes left for the chicken to cook giving ups 40 minutes when you include the rest time, to sit, talk, have a drink and eat out salad before the main course. Everything was served family style which allowed for our guest to control their portion as well as avoid foods that they might not like rather than being “forced” to clear their plate out of guilt.

Tips: Try to serve your meal twenty to thirty minutes after your guest are expected to arrive. No one wants to be rushed right into a meal as soon as they walk through the door.

Your dinner party is not the time to try out a new recipe. Stick with someone you have made well before.

Dessert

One of our guests insisted on bringing a dish. When you are hosting it is your responsibility to provide everything for your party but since this guest really wanted to bring something I told them to bring a dessert which in the end, really helped me out. I was not sure what they were bringing. Since a few of my guests are health conscious I provided a fruit platter and ice cream just in case, besides fruit and ice cream goes with just about any dessert. 

After the meal everyone headed back into the living room to continue our conversation. It was a lot of fun and a lot less stressful than I initially imagined. 

Other tips: If you have an oval shaped dining table like I do, opt for a table runner rather than table cloth, it will be much easier to find, plus having visible wood is always nice!