Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Stress-busting Vitamin

It's been way too long since I did a vitamin post. Sorry about that. I have to say that we have been eating a lot more paprika because of how many times it kept turning up in the "Top Ten" lists. Even my teenage daughter has started adding it to things she makes.
Today's vitamin is B5. I cannot believe how important it is. "Pantothenic"  comes from the Greek word panthos which means "everywhere". As you may guess this vitamin is found in every living cell - pretty important I'd say. B5 helps our adrenal glands in the formation of hormones and we need it for the producing healthy red blood cells. Since it's so closely related to our adrenal glands this vitamin is a real stress-buster.
Our intestinal bacteria can manufacture this vitamin, but if you want to supplement here are some tasty ways to work it into your diet. Top of the list is organ meats - I just have to say we won't be going this route. Then there are egg yolks, nuts, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, bran and milk. It's nice that such an important vitamin is easy to work into our diet. It looks like our diet has this pretty much covered thankfully (except for the organ meat ☺).
How about a breakfast for supper meal with some vegies thrown into the eggs?

The information about Vitamin B3 comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Wraparound Braid


Today we want to show you one of our easiest, most versatile hair styles. We call this a wraparound braid because it's a French braid that we wrap around the head instead of going down the middle. I actually do Dutch braids which are the opposite of French braids. Instead of moving the strands over each other you move them under. It took me a little practice to get used to, but now I do it this way exclusively. I love the way it makes the braid stand out from the head.

Start your braid - French or Dutch - with a small bit of hair on one side of the head.

Continue around the side and across the back.

You can end it by braiding all the way down or...

making a ponytail.

This side of the head is smooth.

You can also pick up hair only with your bottom strand which makes the top part of the braid stand out more.

You can braid the other side and join the two braids into one.

As you can see this style is very versatile and easy if you know how to do a French/Dutch braid. It really is a skill worth learning because it opens up so many more hairstyles.

What is your go-to hairstyle for yourself or your daughter? We always enjoy trying something new. ☺

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Singing and Grace

I woke up this morning with this song going through my head...

I can go directly to my Lord in prayer.
He has told me I may boldly enter there,
And He listens as His promises I plead.
I find grace to help and strength for every need.

I grew up in a family where we listened to lots of hymns and classical music. I'm so glad for all the hymns I have memorized because of this. They are such a comfort and encouragement to me. I like waking up with a song in my head (if it's a good one ☺), because I think about it all day. It helps to set the tone for the day. This one was so good for reminding me that I don't have to do this day on my own. The Lord will help and give grace for whatever my needs. 

I have been so thankful that this school year is going so much smoother than last year. I posted earlier about how burned out I was last year. Honestly, I was trudging through school every morning, taking a long nap in the afternoon and then somehow muddling through the rest of the afternoon until supper. 

I know one thing that has helped is my toddler growing up just a little more so that he is more easily occupied while we do school instead of crying because there is no one to entertain him. I'm going to do a post soon on the activities we've been doing with him. 

But I also know that I have learned to pray more - to ask the Lord to help me. Being a mom is hard work - having help is essential. I'm thankful that it is so easy to say a quick prayer when situations arise in my parenting and trust God to send the answer. Sometimes it's something as simple as me stepping back, taking a deep breath and starting over. It's not always that easy, but I'm not as easily overwhelmed these days. 

So life has been good this fall by God's grace. "Grace" - the word leads me to another song - one of my favourites...

Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering soul to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it.
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Do you have a favourite song that can really lift your spirit? You can check out my daughter's favourite songs on her blog - Ramblings of a Janeite.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Library Time Week 11

I finally finished Nicholas Nickleby. I had first watched it on Netflix which piqued my interest to read the book. It took me over two weeks. Dickens never seems to be short on words. I wonder if he ever had writer's block. ☺ While we're still on Dickens I have to say that the movie version of Nicholas Nickleby that I watched was pretty good. It can't be easy to turn a Dickens novel into a screen play. There are so many characters in his books - so many interesting characters I should say. I've been noticing lately that often the character's name has something to do with their personality or role in the story. Check it out the next time you read a Dickens novel (which you really should do soon). I'm also still working my way through War and Peace with DailyLit.
Now for what my children have been reading...
15-year-old daughter - Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (She highly recommends this one so I'm going to borrow it off of her and read it now that I'm finished Nicholas Nickleby) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
13-year-old son - World Book Encyclopedia - Volume B
11-year-old son - Medieval Warfare by Peter Reid
9-year-old daughter - Canadian Girl-Penny by Sharon McKay
7-year-old daughter - same as her sister
5-year-old son - Curious George
2-year-old son - The Cat in the Hat and Dr. Seuss Alphabet
What have you and/or your children read this week?

Friday, 25 October 2013

Thrift Store Bonanza

This has been a fantastic week. The first part of it we were still on vacation. We had a wonderful time away and came back feeling renewed. One thing we did while away was to sit down together as a family and write a family mission statement. This is something that describes who we are as a family and what we stand for. It gives us goals to work towards and reminds us of what we value. Every family's mission statement is unique. I highly recommend doing this with your family. I'm going to type it up and format it nicely, then print it so we hang it up where we can all see it. The process of writing it ended up being easier than I expected. Now I wish we hadn't put this off so long.
We've been gradually working our way back into our school schedule. It's hard to believe that by the end of next week we will have finished one-fourth of this school year. I continue to add activities for my toddler to work on while we do school. Some are better than others, but overall he is enjoying them and staying occupied (and out of trouble) while we do school.
Today was a 50%-off-all-clothes sale at the Salvation Army thrift store. My husband took me over but I didn't feel too hopeful. I never seem to find anything at these sales. Well, let me say I hit the jackpot today. For $35 I bought 2 winter coats and 1 spring/fall jacket, Thomas the Tank Engine slippers (which absolutely thrilled one little boy), 1 pair of Snugabye pjs, a dress and jumper and three tops for my middle daughters, five tops for my little boys, a top each for my big boys, five books and a pot for camping (not on sale).
Then this afternoon I made a huge floor pouf. The idea came from here and was one of my sewing goals for this fall. I made mine a little differently because I left one part open so we could take blankets in and out of it. Basically, I can store our extra blankets in here and the girls can have a seat for when they play house. This pouf is huge. I put in a big heavy queen size comforter plus seven other blankets. Now the blankets are all contained in one place so it looks tidier in the basement. Anything that helps me tidy up is a winner in my books.
modeling their new shirts
Yesterday with some hesitation and sadness I moved our baby out of our bedroom and into the room with my two other little boys. My plan is to put him in bed there. Then when he wakes up still bring him into bed with me for the night. I can't give that up yet. What we were finding though was that our bedroom sees a lot of activity at night as the older children come in and out to tell us things about their day. All of this would end up waking the baby up more than once before we went to bed. Last night he woke up at eleven (I wasn't in bed yet so okay); then he slept until 2:30 this morning. I was a happy mama though suffering a little from separation anxiety. I'll live - they do have to grow up. I was also able to do this move without making the little boys' room anymore crowded - big bonus there plus my bedroom feels bigger.
All in all it was a good week, and tomorrow I'm going to a scrapbooking party so the week will end on a fun note. Have you ever had a great find at a thrift store? How do you store your blankets? 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fall Sewing List

We're on the way home from our vacation. It was a wonderful time away and now I'm excited to go home and get back to work. I've had time to think about things I wanted to do. Since writing up a sewing list for summer worked so well for me, I thought I'd do one for this fall/winter.
~ one dress each for my two youngest daughters
~ an "anywhere" chair - a kind of portable high chair
~ numerous gifts for New Years. Let me explain. We don't celebrate Christmas, but we do exchange gifts at New Years. We try to do homemade as much as possible which means that just helping my children make gifts for each other is thirty-six gifts. I try to keep them simple, but also help them to expand their skills. Even my boys have a very rudimentary knowledge of how to use a sewing machine. We have a lot of fun making these gifts. Sometimes we do some kind of an edible treat. I try to do a mix skills.
~ felt popsicles - a busy bag idea
~ a wallet for myself
~ a different cover for my Kindle
~ pajama pants for my second son
~ a top for myself
~ car seat blanket
~ 2-3 skillet handle pot holder
~ floor pouf
~ bag to carry my mei tai in
~ slips for my two youngest daughters
~ some bread bags
I think I should quit. There are so many things I want to make, and this list only has things from my sewing board on Pinterest. I'll let you know how it goes.
Do you have any DIY plans this fall?

Friday, 18 October 2013

On the Road

You may have noticed that I haven't posted anything since Monday - then again, you may be so busy like I am that you really hadn't noticed. Either way, I haven't posted because we finally are on a family vacation. This is our first in three years. We won't be home until next Tuesday and it feels so good.
I wrote about being burned out with homeschooling and needing all summer to recharge. I think part of it had to do with not being able to go away as a family for a long time. Our seventh baby up until about six months ago couldn't go much longer than fifteen minutes in the car without crying. As you can imagine that made life challenging. He also had a hard time with any changes in his life. So we put off a family vacation and made do with very short day trips. It was fine, but let me tell you, I was ready to get away. We were supposed to go away in August but a car accident put a stop to those plans which was so disappointing at the time. But now we are really enjoying this October vacation - so much that we might do it this way again on purpose. We've gone hiking and visited a science centre, laughed a lot, and still plan on going to a silver mine.
So what has made this vacation easier...
  • top of the list - breastfeeding - I'm so glad I didn't have to pack bottles. One less thing for my tired brain to deal with.
  • mini-frig in our motel room. This means we can eat more of the good foods we like and can spend less on eating out.
  • having some children who are old enough to pack for themselves. However, that being said there was a child - no names here - who may or may not be a son, who is a teenager, who practically lives in a leather jacket which was not packed. Grrrr. But that leads me to my next point.
  • Salvation Army thrift stores. We were able to buy a nice jacket for $5.
  • my Kindle - no really, Jennifer? You took your Kindle? We can't believe it. Well, you know me by now. I love my Kindle. How easy is it to throw one little Kindle device in the diaper bag instead of agonizing over which books to pack? I still think my Kindle is one of the best gifts my husband ever gave me.
  • two amazing daughters who have kept the baby (for the most part) happy on the long car rides.
  • my sling and mai tei carrier. When you have a twenty-five pound baby, you need all the help you can get holding him.

We're making memories and having fun. What are your favourite family vacation memories? I'll be back sometime next week.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. We look forward to it all year, and it feels like it's over in the blink of an eye.
I am so thankful for so many things. First, my salvation, of course, because without Jesus life is empty. I'm thankful for my wonderful husband and beautiful children, my parents and sisters, my church family, my health...I could go on and on. God has been so good to me. He has given me so many of the desires of my heart.
I thought I'd give you a little peak into our day. We had a wonderful day together as a family.

still waking up at breakfast

doing some catching up on "brother" time after a three-week separation

She's becoming my right hand in the kitchen - she loves helping.


more awake now

We tried something different this year. We put all of the main dishes in the kitchen buffet style so I could have room to decorate the table.

Family time - the best

Something I'm very thankful for this year - a new mixer from my wonderful husband.

"I'm not looking at the camera, Mommy." I love this little guy. He has grown up so much since last Thanksgiving. He has been my most challenging child, but he is incredibly sweet (when he's in a good mood~wink).

We ended our day with a walk to the park, then over to Timmies for a muffin. I love these times we spend together as a family storing up memories.
How was your Thanksgiving? Or if you haven't celebrated it yet what are your plans for making it special?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Prepping for a Programme and a Winner

I am so sorry that I have not been here this week, but it was for a good cause. Tonight we had a Thanksgiving programme at our church. So I was preparing for that - music, food, decorations, designing and preparing a programme and SEWING. I sewed matching dresses for my two youngest daughters - at their request. It's nice that they still like to match. We did do different buttons on the front of each as a way of telling them apart. Here are a couple of pictures from our night which went so well. I forgot my camera in the rush to get out the door but my husband has a great one in his smart phone. :)

And now for the big news - the winner of the giveaway. I should have done this on Thursday. Sorry. First, the changes to my blog - the "About Me" picture, the Facebook and Pinterest buttons personalized to match my blog, the links to other posts and a different comment form. Only one person got them all right and coincidentally also won - Julie Geoffrion. Congratulations! You need to let me know now which one of the books you want. Thank you to all who participated.
I hope to get back to a more normal life in the next few days, but first there is Thanksgiving on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving all!
How was your week - busy, normal or slow?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Revisiting a Project

Hello Everyone,
I've been super busy the last two days. I'm trying to get matching dresses for my two youngest daughters made by Saturday. Our church is having a special Thanksgiving programme hence the new dresses.
Here's a post I did a couple of months ago about sewing a blanket for a baby. This is simple and perfect for the cooler weather.
Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow and the project will be finished.
Do you ever give yourself crazy assignments on a tight deadline?

Monday, 7 October 2013

My Summer Sewing List - Update

Here's a run-down on how I did with my sewing list this summer. I meant to get this together about a month ago. Here we are already in October, and I'm putting together a fall/winter list in my head. Maybe I'll share it with you soon.

~quilts for my nieces - one purple and one pink - the quilts not my nieces ☺

~a package of homemade gifts for my sister’s family in Wyoming  - so, so happy with these gifts - a magnetic tile for my brother-in-law, a bag for my sister, an ipod case for my oldest nephew, a prayer journal for my oldest niece, a "5 stones" game for another niece, a messenger bag for my middle nephew and clothes for her doll for the youngest niece in that family.

~finish the quilt I have started for my oldest son - I didn't get it finished, but I did get all three layers basted together and started the quilting. I love hand quilting so I'm enjoying this process.

~start a quilt for my second son - didn't get this done
~a jumper for my youngest daughter for Canada Day with some fun fabric I bought about a month ago - she was happy with this :)

~a skirt for my middle daughter - turned out great. I used this technique for the edge.

~a gift for a friend who is due with a baby in June - I made two - a hat and a diaper pouch

the cute recipient

~a skirt or two for my oldest daughter - only did one

~a table runner for my dining room table

~something for my mom for Mother’s Day and my dad for Father’s Day - sadly this was another project that didn't happen

~a StoryBook for my brother-in-law who is graduating from the Army Reserves - The pictures are all formatted I just have to do the journaling and then order it.

~boxers for my two little boys

~a clothespin bag - This didn't get done either.
~extras - a skirt for my youngest daughter
         - a mei tai carrier - This was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I'm so glad I made this. I use it almost every day. I like to use it for carrying our baby on my back for walks; my daughter prefers to use it on the front with her toddler brother.
So looking at this list I feel like it was a very productive summer. Were you able to cross any goals off your list this summer?