Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All Things Work Together for Good

About 2 weeks ago we had a freezer "mishap". Not exactly sure how, but the freezer became unplugged...

Allow me to paint the scene for you:

It is a Monday afternoon. The house has been tidied, dishes done, and baby is napping. I'm thinking that I have it all together so I grab a coffee and sit down to finish reading "Against the Tide: The Valor of Margaret Wilson" by Hope Irvin Marston. For those of you who haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. The genre is historical fiction/biography. The main character is Margaret Wilson, a staunch Covenanter from 17th Century Scotland during the times of oppression and persecution under King Charles II. It is a captivating and convicting story. It also, by the way, has a very intense ending.

So back to the scene. I am on the second-to-last-page of this book.
Tears are filling my eyes. 
I think I forgot to breathe for a minute. 
My face is red with anger. 
My heart pains.

Enter my husband, Peter:
"Umm, Niki. Can you come here?"
A little agitated I say, "Can it wait!?"
"Well, it is kind of important!"
Already feeling a bit guilty about reading for the last hour or so, I decide I had better go.
"It seems that the freezer has been unplugged for a day or two." My husband explains.
"...o.k." I reply calmly. I think to myself that this isn't a big deal. I mean, it's not like I'm being persecuted or anything! It's just a freezer (And a small one at that!).

I get my boots on and we head out the back door into the shed where the freezer sits...
dripping with reddish-purple juice from the thawed berries.
Almost everything is completely thawed. The 24+ cups of Green Pepper that I just put in there. Pumpkin, apples, raspberries, and blackberries all completely thawed. 

Place on top of this the intense mood I was already in because of the book... 
This is where I turn off the camera because my reaction has become less than...

A little later in the day, after I calmed down and realized that pouting wasn't going to solve the problem, I got out my church directory and called my pastor's wife. They have 3 teenage girls.
"I need to borrow a girl for the day", I said.
She sent me her best girl in the kitchen and the next day we were busy.
We made:
  • 5 pumpkin pies
  • 2 apple pies
  • And a double batch of jam
All before 3pm! That night, feeling like I was on a roll, I made 3 banana loaves and a batch of biscuits for the freezer. Then the next day I made 4 chicken pot pies and froze them too! My freezer is full again, but this time with prepared foods!

I did sit down to finish the book. I cried because of my selfishness and petty nature. I cried also because I didn't understand what God has allowed and still allows His Church to suffer persecution, oppression and martyrdom.

And then I remembered these verses:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 
to them who are called according to his purpose. 
For whom he did foreknow, 
he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:28-29 (emphasis mine)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Liquid Hand Soap

I am forever trying to figure out what to do with all of those soap ends -- You know, when the soap gets so small that it just slips out of your hand when you are using it! That is so annoying.

I have thrown out a bunch of them just because I get tired of seeing them hang around my sink or bathtub!

But, yesterday, I remembered reading that they can be used to make liquid hand soap and since we just happened to run out, I thought I would give it a try. Waste not, Want not!

So here's how:
  • Break up the small pieces of soap and shove them into the liquid dispenser
  • Fill it half full with some hot tap water (More or less depending on how much soap you have)
  • Give it a good shake.
It's just that easy. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Modest Mom Giveaway

I just read about a giveaway at A Wise Woman Builds her Home!!

They are giving away a denim ruffle skirt - Tres Cute! And you can choose if you want it maternity or not, and the length. Go to the link to find out how you can enter too!

Reflections on Newborn Baby Times

The last couple of days I have been reflecting on the "early days" with my Pumpkin. I can't believe that she is almost 9 months old! Time has gone by so fast.

But time didn't always seemed to be going quickly. I remember the first week of being a mom. Tired - make that exhausted, frustrated because she seemed to cry so much sometimes, worried because she wasn't gaining weight well, sad because the sun set so early in the evening, sore from breastfeeding, unsure of what to do and how to do it and whether I was doing everything or anything right...I never thought that these times would come to an end! I couldn't see past the troubles of the present circumstances.

With tear filled eyes at 4 o'clock in the morning I would get up for 5th time that night and sit with a crying baby assuring Peter that we need to enjoy these times because she'll never be this little again. I guess I didn't really believe that it was true at the time, but now I look down at my lil girl and wonder where those days have gone. Is she really the same baby that I gave birth to almost 9 months ago? Sometimes I wonder if it wasn't all just a dream.
But I have the pictures to prove it! So it must have been real!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

My Cousin Aleisha at Sew What? sent me a package in the mail the other day! I love getting mail and this was a thick one so I was really really excited to open it! I hinted at my like for the baby mitts she just posted about and she graciously offered to make Pumpkin a pair. But when I got the package, to my surprise, she sent more than just a pair of mitts!

The Apron Challenge!

Well, Last Friday I was sent a challenge by a friend, Renee at The Growing Stam Family,to wear an Apron every day for a week. I didn't seem to find the time to post a picture at the beginning of the week, so I'll post it now!

Wool Socks and all!

The Week isn't over yet so I still have a few days of observations to make before reporting my findings ;-)

So check back to see how the Apron has helped get me through the week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Wow. We are at the end of another busy week and I find my head swirling as I sit down to write. I feel busy and tired, but yet I feel unproductive... Like I'm running around with my head cut off.... But we'll get organized one of these days.

What have I been doing all week? Well, on Monday I received an unexpected call asking if Peter and I would like to clean a house on Tuesday! Brand new, gorgeous place, full of dust from carpentry work etc. So after some thinking (and planning for our Pumpkin) we decided to take it on. We worked 7 full hours and were able to make 240 dollars extra this week! That was much needed! The Lord is teaching me to always trust Him for our finances!

Thursday, we received a bedroom set from Peter's parents! Bed, 2 bedside tables, and 2 dressers (one with a huge mirror). We just had mixed dressers and tables before, but now it all matches!! That is nice! And our old bed and dressers have been moved into our spare room. So we are now equipped with a guest room :-) I can't wait to share our home with others!!

Oh, on a side note...just last week (I think...or maybe 2 weeks ago!), friends from our Church decided to give us their dining room table and chairs!! Sturdy, solid wood! It is beautiful and I love it! I will post pictures one of these days!

hmmm what else...
  • Meal planning has gone down the tube...Again! 
  • We used twice as much water this past 3 months than the 3 months before that. 
  • Rebekah has had another week of diaper is going away now though!
  • My mom gave me 2 cast iron pans, which I really like using!

OH! And I just read a really great blog post on Singleness.  
So to all my single lady friends: Check this out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Market Day of the Soul

Tomorrow is Sunday.
I love Sundays!
If you are a Christian, Sunday is a day to forget about all of the worldly toils.
It is a day to refresh your spirit.
It is a day to celebrate and look forward to 
The eternal rest offered to you by Christ.
It is a day to focus your energy on Worshiping God.
It is a day to fellowship with other Believers. 
It is a day of Rest for your weary and heavy laden heart.
 It is the Market Day of your Soul.

I often try to have one main day per week when I go to the store to buy my groceries or other things that we need for the week. According to Joseph A. Pipa in his book "The Lord's Day", the Puritans did the same thing(p. 42)! They would have a market where farmers and merchants would come into the town to buy and sell. I always find it neat to learn about how people lived in the past (even the simple things). 

What does this have to do with Sunday? Well, Some of the Puritans often referred to the Lord's Day (Sunday) as the "Market day of the Soul". Just like we may take one day out of seven to run errands and gather food for our family, we must also take one day out of seven to replenish and nourish our Souls (p. 43). 

We must not forget this day! It is Special to God! The 4th commandment states: "Six days shall you labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God...". It is His day. It belongs to Him! Not only that though...He gives it to us for our benefit too.  I like how Pipa puts it, "The purpose of the Fourth Commandment is to free us from our daily business so that we may do business with Him (God)" (p. 43). Notice that the purpose is not to inhibit us from doing our normal weekly things, but rather to free us from them! I often need to be reminded of this! 

The Lord's day is a blessing! God is so Gracious to give us one whole day out of seven to especially focus on Worshiping Him and bringing Glory to Him. 

May you all enjoy The Lord's Day Tomorrow!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Love One Another

This afternoon, I was delighted to have two beautiful ladies in my home for lunch. It made me realize how much I love and enjoy spending time with other ladies and how encouraging and edifying it can be!

God created us to be social beings. Even Adam, who was in a sinless state before the Fall, desired the company of another. Not to mention that Jesus collected 12 men around him to be His companions -- to walk with, to pray with, and to offer support and encouragement to one another.

I suppose it should be no surprise then, to discover that doing - anything - is always so much more fun when you are doing it with someone else! I've had more than one opportunity to bare witness to this fact in the past week or so.

Last Friday, a mom's group that I have just recently started going to with a friend, did a "Thanksgiving Craft" together. It was a pumpkin centerpiece. I really enjoyed doing this and even though Thanksgiving is over, you may still like to carve out a pumpkin and make your own Autumn Arrangement.

All you have to do is carve out the pumpkin and find a jar that will fit snugly inside. Then cut a piece of floral foam to fit inside the jar and get those creative juices flowing! If you want to use fresh flowers/foliage, I think it would be best to use floral foam that is specifically designed for fresh arrangements. If you only have dry floral foam, then you can create your masterpiece using dried flowers, wheat, or cat tails.

If you don't think you are gifted in the art of arranging, guess what?...I didn't either!! But yet, I still feel happy with how mine turned out. Remember that it doesn't need to look perfect! Your family will enjoy the effort that you have put into it to make your home feel festive and colourful!

I draw my next example from the visit of my Parents which took place just after Thanksgiving. Together we were able to pickle 10 lbs of beets, a triple batch of Salsa, and cut up over 30 cups of green/orange peppers for the freezer! I was so blessed by their help and it made the job that I was (ashamedly) dreading, an enjoyable experience. (I think this is the first time I have ever done preserving with my folks!) Maybe this is the beginning of a new tradition?? ;-)
Me with all of the Salsa Ingredients!
The finished product! :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Back!!

With Thanksgiving, it has been busy around our home! We were delighted to visit Peter's Parents last weekend, and when we returned, my Mom and Dad were at our home visiting! Add an anniversary in there (2 whole years!) and you have a week full of lots o' love, hugs, and good food! 

I have so many things that I would like to write about that I don't know where to begin!

Since I have been neglecting my blog, I will combine a recipe with a thrift tip!

Make your own Flour Tortillas!!
 (I got this recipe from

  • 4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
  • oil

1. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
2. Next cut in the shortening with a fork.
3. When the flour is crumbly, add the water. Stir the dough with your fork until it makes a cohesive ball of dough. You may need to add an extra small spoonful of water if the dough is too dry. Be careful not to add too much though.
4. When the dough forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Then let it rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes. After it has rested, form it into 10 or 12 equal balls.
5. Roll each ball in a little flour, to coat the outside of it evenly.
6. Place a ball of dough on a clean, well floured surface. Roll the dough out into a a 6 or 7-inch circle. Try to get it as thin as you can. Loosen the tortilla from the rolling surface.
7. Flop it onto a lightly oiled, hot skillet. Cook about 30 seconds, until the under side is dry, with a few brown spots. Flip it and cook the other side the same way. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate, and cook the next one.

This recipe makes about a dozen tortillas.

You will likely need half an hour or more to complete this recipe as the rolling takes some practice! However, the savings are worth it. I haven't worked out the cost of home-made tortillas, however just the fact that you don't need to spend an extra 3-4 dollars every time you want tortillas seems to make it appealing!

The taste is better, but the texture isn't exactly like store bought, but I still think they are pretty good. :-)

Let me know what Food things you make to save money! 
If you have written about it on your own blog, 
feel free to share the link to your post in the comment box!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Vegetable Quinoa

Today I would like to share a recipe that I came across recently from the Company's Coming "Whole Grains" cook book.

We really like to incorporate whole grains into our diet as much as possible, so when I spotted this recipe, I figured I'd give it a try... We *loved* it! And sometimes, good whole grain recipes are hard to come by. The only downside is that quinoa can sometimes be expensive. I might try another grain at some point and see how it turns out! Either way, it makes a really great side dish to round out a meal (gotta have your fibre!) And it is also great if you are hosting a vegetarian guest!

Vegetable Quinoa

1 tsp Canola Oil
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot

1 1/4 cups Vegetable cocktail juice (V8 for example)
3/4 cups Water
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and drained
(Note: Quinoa is a South American Grain that can usually be found in your local bulk foods store or sometimes in the grains department of your grocery store. To rinse it, I usually just place the grains in a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.)

Heat canola oil in medium saucepan on medium heat. Add next 4 ingredients.
Cook, uncovered, for about 5 min., stirring often, until onion is softened.

Add next 3 ingredients. Stir. Bring to a boil. Add quinoa. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, without stirring, until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Fluff with fork and serve!

Makes about 4 cups.
Nutritional Info (1cup): 202 Calories; 3.8 g fat (1.2g mono, 1.4g poly, 0.4g sat.); 0 mg cholesterol; 37 g carb; 4 g fibre; 7 g protein; 378 g sodium

Variations: If you don't have time to do the chopping of the vegetables, I have substituted with about 2 cups of a frozen vegetable mix (beans, carrots, peas, corn). It was still good! Although I do like the original suggestion for vegetables.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just take 15 min!!

We love squash!
 The only problem is that it seems to take sooo much effort to get it ready to eat on the plate. Well, mostly it's the chopping that gets to me. (Either my knives are too dull or my arms just aren't strong enough to cut through the things!) So what do I do? I get my wonderful husband to cut it! :-) 

So today, he chops up the squash for me. Meanwhile, I stand at his side (as his encourager and helpmeet, of course!) and make plenty of ooos and ahhhs over his muscles! ;-)

I was very thankful for his hard work and was sure to reward him with a kiss! *Muah!* He kissed back and smiled...then he left and there it was...

The enormous pile of cut but unpeeled squash.
This is where I look at it, look at the clock and say... "ughhhh...this is going to take sooo muchhhh of my timmeeeeeee........ Maybe I'll work on my puzzle instead!" 

And I did. ha ha! I sat down and looked at all the pieces and thought about how lovely it will look when it is all finished...but the squash was eating away at my mind, the whole time. So I gathered up my courage and said, "Ok, I'm just going to work on peeling the squash for 15 minutes. Then I will go do something else and come back to it."
10 minutes later......
It's in the pot covered in water ready to cook!!!
I can't begin to tell you how many times I go through this same thing every day. Sinks full of dishes, toys all over the floor, laundry piled to the ceiling, etc. You can probably think of your own enormous pile of something that looks like it will take an eternity to do!

I'm going to suggest something very simple, but profound:

15 minutes.
That might be all it takes to clear off that table that you haven't seen in months.

15 minutes.
That might be all it takes to give you hope for the completion of a particular job.

15 minutes.
Just might even be what it takes to pull you out of that downward spiral of depression.

Never underestimate the power of the time the Lord has given you. 
It is precious.
It belongs to Him.
Will you use it for His glory today?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Taking advantage of Flyer Specials

Today, I want to share with all of you a little gem that I found on the web.

This website can formulate a weekly meal plan for you and send it to your e-mail address, which is fine if you would like the challenge of cooking a never seen before recipe every night, but if you're like me and mostly stick to the basics, that won't be the service you are interested in!

What I love about this website is the "Save Money" tab along the top of the page. From there you can click "This week's specials" and instantly, all of the flyer specials from the major supermarkets in your region will pop up in an organized chart for your planning convenience! No more flipping through page after page, being overwhelmed by all of the items. Make a list of what you need and see if it is advertised this week!

You can choose which categories you want to browse and which grocery store to be included. The chart will tell you where the product is shipped from, price/kg and will highlight the best deal. The list is updated once/week, usually when the fyiers take effect.

You may have to sign up in order for it to work (I can't remember!) Someone let me know if you do!
I hope that you will find this to be a useful resource when planning your grocery list!
For my non-Canadian readers, I apologize...this might only work for us Canadian folks, eh?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Autumn in Harvest Town!

Yes, indeed it is. Although with a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius (with humidity) doesn't really feel like it! But the leaves are changing and the world is full of vibrant colours that are a feast for the eyes.
Today could have been just like every other day, 
but to make it special, we decided to go for a drive! 
We had two missions in mind:
1) Pick out a couple of pumpkins!!

We chose the Prettiest Pumpkin of them all!

 2) Go Dumpster Diving!

We absolutely *love* fall and spring cleanup time.
I tend to think that it is resourcefulness that makes us love it so much.
(rather than materialism! :S)
Here's a list of what we got!
  • A like new stroller that folds up nice and small                                                                                      (which will be nice for trips to the mall this winter...gotta get exercise in somehow!)
  • A little rocking toy for Pumpkin when she is a bit older
  • And a slightly worn, but still nice wicker basket!
  • We also saw a beat up antique chest as well and really wanted to get it, but just couldn't fit it into the car! :( It was really neat though. It had the name of the man as well as his address and phone number. The number was 193 (I think) and he was from Saskatchewan! 
I want to know...
What treasures have you found dumpster diving???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Family

Allow me to introduce myself and my family:

Peter, Niki, and Rebekah

We love the Lord Jesus Christ and desire to bring Glory to Him in the way we live our lives. 

May this blog be a testimony of our dedication to Him.