It’s just stuff…

Well we had a bit of excitement this week.  On Wednesday night Jason went to the mall just 5 minutes away from here to pick out a new cell phone for me, and then around 8:20 I get a call from him letting me know that he is standing out in the parking lot and our Suburban is gone.   As in….  not there…  vanished… without a trace.   It was shocking to say the least.     He had parked it under a light, about 3 spaces in, but that didn’t stop whoever took it… it was very very gone.

When I got the news I was stunned and rather upset, but when I turned and saw 4 little faces staring at me I had to change my tune pretty quick.   I told them it was gone, but for them not to get too upset because it’s just stuff!!   And it’s true, a vehicle is just stuff… except this one had some rather nice rims on it… 22 inch ones to be exact…

Just a nice little grocery getter with very shiny tires.  So shiny that we were pretty darn sure they took it just for the rims and crazily enough when it was found Thursday, it was found abandoned, sans wheels.   How cruel.     A car without its tires must be utter humiliation.

But it’s funny how attached we get to our things – and how we can miss them when they are gone.  But when I looked at the facts I realized that no one was hurt, we have insurance, and that Suburban is the biggest gas guzzler on the planet with its big engine and all-wheel drive.  Just what I need for running around the city… so maybe it’s a good wake-up call for us to rethink this whole thing anyway.

The verse I read to the kids the next morning was this… Matt 6:19-21

19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Basically telling us our real investments should be on things that are going to last for eternity, and to not get our hearts all caught up on Suburbans with nice rims.   These earthy things just don’t last, they break, they fall apart, they get stolen, and Matthew Henry says in his commentary, ” It is folly to make that our treasure which we may so easily be robbed of.”  Instead,  our treasure should be things of God…. the riches and glory and pleasure that we have in our relationship with God.   These are the things to be sought after – and they can never fade or be taken from us.

So the kids have recovered sufficiently and since the Suburban was found we at least have our car-seats back and the other junk we left inside.   And this whole experience has been a good reminder that it’s just stuff and stuff comes and goes and shouldn’t take our heart with it when it does.

From hot to cold…

So in a matter of days we’ve gone from unseasonably warm weather where you might see this before bedtime…

To a little more seasonable weather which resulted in this tonight before bed…

Now the hat wasn’t really warranted, but I got Sarah to get Soph one because it was a touch chilly out and her hair was wet from her bath.  Sarah got her mitts as well, not because Sophia needed them, probably more because Sarah herself looked like this…

Which allowed me to recall that Sarah is rather seasonably challenged.  I had flash-backs to last year where I had to remove every item of winter clothes from her dresser so that she wouldn’t wear jeans and long-sleeve t-shirts in July.

This past week felt like June even though it was till March,  and even though I got Sarah into jean shorts one day for school, she still paired them with her brown suede boots, a scarf and mitts.

Like I said, seasonably challenged… and unfortunately maybe a bit challenged in the style department as well, but there are some things that are NOT worth fighting over.

When it was hot this past week my kids consumed popsicles  like they were going out of style.   So when Sarah expressed an interest in making some I went hunting and found this on All…  strawberry lemonade ice-pops.   Very easy and everyone here loved them!!  They are definitely going to become a summer staple so I’m glad they are easy to make.    And apart from the sugar in the lemonade, these contain no artificial colour or flavour or preservatives and that’s always a huge plus!

So we enjoyed the hot, but are now not minding the cold.    Now that the kids are hooked I guess we’ll be eating popsicles from now to Thanksgiving.   And with the lull in the heat I thankfully have some time to set Sarah straight in the being seasonably fashionable department!

Tricky People

I’m pretty sure my friend Christa told me about this concept of “tricky people’ for teaching kids about strangers.    Christa probably found the info on Pinterest which wouldn’t surprise me.  Other people find great things there, I’m still slowly  trying to figure the whole Pinterest thing out.  Any who…

The idea comes from this website Safely Ever After and the creator of the site Patti Fitzgerald has some amazing tips for teaching kids how to stay safe.    One of the things she teaches is to talk about ‘tricky people’ with your kids.  Tricky people are those adults that just don’t follow the normal rules adults follow.   A tricky person might get my child to come with them without the child asking permission first, or an adult who asks my child for ‘help’ or asks them to keep a secret, etc.      I love this concept because I don’t want my children to be rude to everyone that says hi to them at Costco or on the street – I want them to know the difference between an adult acting in a normal way or an adult who is trying to do something inappropriate.

I’ve always taught my kids that they can say ‘hi’ to a stranger but if that stranger tries to engage them in dialogue or do anything else, my child must say, “I need to go find my mommy or daddy” and run for us – which I still think is a fairly good system –  but I do like to have all my angles covered.   I still remember talking to Erik and William about strangers when they were little and I was testing them with different situations.    I asked William,  “Now William, if a stranger comes up to you and wants you to come with him and offers you candy, what would you say?”  And William looks at me with these big innocent eyes and says, “Yes please!”   ACK!     Of course it made me laugh, but also made me realize that I had my work cut out for me.

So definitely follow that link and read her tips, I would recommend it!

Mercy and Grace

I once heard someone say that God’s gifts to us are all spiritual, but the things that we would consider ‘gifts’ such as family and friends and health etc, are really just God’s mercy towards us.  I love that perspective.  Because really, what do we deserve?    We deserve nothing from God except punishment for our sins.    No matter how ‘good’ we think we are in compared to others and taking into account all the ‘good’ things we’ve done  – the reality is we’ve all broken God’s law – and that has separated us from God… eternally.

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved.  Ephesians 2:4

God loved us enough to send His son Jesus to die on the cross, and shed his blood to pay for our sins.  And if we believe this and ask for and accept forgiveness we can be reconciled to Christ – and that once and for all re-unites us with God now and for all eternity.

Today as we were driving we heard Amazing Grace  and it brought tears to my eyes… and I love the lyrics that Chris Tomlin added to this classic hymn…

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

Thank you God for your mercy and your grace towards us!

What a gift!

I think I have to take back every negative thing I’ve ever said about March.  This March has made me forget all the cold miserable Marchs I’ve lived through in year’s past and is softening my heart for this month that isn’t winter and isn’t spring.   I can’t believe how amazing the weather has been this March break!   So sunny and warm, it’s been a wonderful gift – especially when there are 4 active children to be kept busy.

Wednesday we took advantage of the beautiful day to go visit my friend Christa and her kids.  After she fed us lunch we went to Longwoods conservation area and visited the Ska-Nah-Doht Village and Museum which was very cool.

Sarah worked on some fire-lighting skills.

Erik – the guy who is always hungry – practiced his corn grinding skills.

Will liked the bow… of course… he would have been a wonderful hunter.

And Sophia… Sophia just practiced being cute.

Then it was off to see the longhouses and the different aspects of the village…

Everything was really cool.

And then we were off to a 50’s diner to crack Will’s tooth…. uh… that’s not what we MEANT to do, we meant to just go and get root-beer floats, but just after I snapped this pic….

Will banged his face into the table, cut his lip and put a hair-line crack in one of his front teeth – which are already his permanent ones… OUCH!!   Thankfully after seeing the dentist yesterday there is a good chance that it might never be an issue  so that’s what we are praying for!

But even with that little hiccup we had a wonderful day, enjoyed being out and exploring in the sunshine and it was just another reminder that God always takes care of us.

And then we were doubly blessed because we got to go out again yesterday when our friend Kim invited us to her place out in the country.   She fed us lunch as well and keep us entertained all day and then took us to show us baby lambs and chickens and cows and horses to boot!  ( And I got to buy farm fresh eggs which we had for dinner – it just doesn’t get better than that)

So I have to say for a week in March – we are very blessed!

Pre-March Break fun…

So last week saw us head once again to Sandusky Ohio for our second annual trip to the Kalahari – a huge indoor water-park.   We traveled first to my parents and left this one in the tender loving care of Oma and Opa.  Sophia is still a little hesitant when it comes to have fun in the water and so we opt to leave her behind for lots of fun and cuddles with Oma and Opa.

It’s not a bad trip through Ohio even if you are trying to catch up to friends who got ahead of you, but we did catch up and rolled into the Kalahari as a convoy.   The kids are always excited to see this site out their windows…

And it is a blast.    However once again I failed to really capture the moments on film, probably because I was too out of breath from climbing flights of stairs to go on just one more tube ride with the kids.    I went on 3 rides that I hadn’t been on last year and we found hot-tubs this year that we didn’t know existed… like how on earth could we miss the hot-tubs?

This year we were looking forward to Sarah being tall enough to go on some of the bigger tube rides with us.  So how do I introduce my little 5 year old to these rides?    I take her on a “zip coaster” ride that’s how!   The only problem was I had never been on this ride and it proved to be rather fast and a bit crazy.     Even though I was extolled the virtues of the ride all the way through (Whoosh… “AUGGGGG!!!!!!  Isn’t this fun Sarah?”) it seems poor Sarah will never be the same again and may never darken the line of a water-slide again until she’s grown.   I guess she can’t been blamed now when she says that her favourite ride is the hot-tub.  Silly mama.

Erik and Will had a blast and never stopped, except when they were hungry.   And since we went with friends this year they had a great going on the rides with friends and trying out rides that I was even to scared to go on.      And we loved having our friends with us, other adults that didn’t have tattoos so that we wouldn’t feel so out of place.  Honestly, this place is tattoo heaven,  everyone and their kids had them (honestly, there were girls that couldn’t have been more than 15!)   We really wonder if people who have tattoos get a deal on their admission.

Oh – I didn’t take many pics, but here is one of the park taken from the window in the hall..

This pic doesn’t even show half of the park!  But it is fun and very watery as Sarah pointed out.  The last morning she was very tired and was pretty sure she didn’t want to get wet again and was saying that she didn’t like the water park because it was ‘too watery’.   Yup, a too-watery water-park.  That’s how you know you are a very tired 5 year old.

So it’s good to be home now with the 6 of us.  It’s good that we are on March Break so that the kids can get used to the time change and it’s good that once again we made some memories that the kids will be talking about until we go again next year!

My lunch today…

Wow, that post title could be the entry way into a really exciting post.  It could be, but it isn’t today.  And just because my lunch was the most exciting part of my day wouldn’t normally make it blog-worthy, but today it is.

Here’s the story… after I flunked out of the 21 vegan challenge as described here I still have been trying to make some changes to my diet, as in I’ve been trying to eat less dairy and less meat.  It’s all been good and not that hard. I now enjoy an almond milk latte rather than one made with milk and I can’t even tell anymore that I’ve swapped one for the other.  But then a few weeks ago I went to see a friend who is a holistic nutritionist and now it’s bye-bye wheat for a time.  But it still makes me sad because I have had a huge love-affair with wheat over the years and it was hard to say good-bye.  Now it’s not a gluten problem so I can substitute spelt or kamut flour where I once used wheat… but that means I have to make things and I’m not about to make crackers per say.

But do not despair over a lunch with no bread… enter quinoa!   A tiny little grain that actually a whole protein and is very versatile… and isn’t everyone looking for a versatile grain?    So here is my lunch, a super easy delicious quinoa salad hand-crafted by me.  And I apologize in advance for the lousy photo,  no one would ever accuse me of being a food photographer.

But if you are interested in having this for your lunch one day (or as a side at dinner) here is the recipe…

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 raisins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey

That’s right!  Easy does it.  Cook the quinoa (put the cup of quinoa in a pan on the stove with 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes).  Chop everything that needs to be chopped (pecans and celery).  Combine liquids together.  Toss cooled quinoa and everything else in a bowl… stir and enjoy your dairy, meat and wheat free lunch! 🙂

William & Ellie…

This sweet story started back when William was almost 1 years old and we were going on a road-trip.    The kids were already buckled in their car seats when on a whim I ran inside for a stuffed animal for each boy to accompany them on the trip.   As fate would have it I randomly grabbed a blue elephant for William and that was that, a beautiful friendship was born.

From then on William and his elephant (or ‘Ellie’) were inseparable…

and wherever William went Ellie went too.   She matches the colour of his eyes…

And if her one fault is that she tends to act like a big micro-fibre dust rag, well, it just meant I had to sneak her away from William every so often so she could have a bath.

He loves her so much and that has led to another problem… we’ve discovered it’s best if you never mention to William that Ellie won’t be going to heaven with him whenever God calls him home.   The poor guys gets very upset and refuses to be comforted.   But at this point I decided it’s best to leave that conundrum in God’s very capable hands.

But all this love has been hard on Ellie and even though William doesn’t suck his thumb anymore, Ellie is still very important to him.   So when William asked me a few week ago if I would fix Ellie’s tail which was in tatters…

I couldn’t put it off and promised I would fix it.

But how?

Well I thought and thought and went online searching for how to fix a stuffed animal, tried to convince William that Ellie needed a whole new tail, but he just wouldn’t hear of it.     So since I was stuck with fixing the old one, major surgery was the only way.

I washed Ellie,  opened her up, got the tail out, opened it all up and hand-sewed a patch on the end.   Then thankfully was able to sew it all up again with my sewing machine, re-stuffed Ellie, fixed a few more  things on her and voila,  she’s in one piece again!

And yes, I took a picture of Ellie’s butt just so I could show you her new tail.  Doesn’t she look chipper again?

William was very grateful to have Ellie restored in one piece – even though I didn’t re-stuff her poor legs… but that was going to be a little to time intensive and he didn’t seem to mind.

So now that I’ve finished that Ellie story,  I can move on to this one…

in short, the high-light of my day.   A snugly, yummy, little kissable Ellie (really Eliana).

She’s the daughter of my friend Melissa and she and her mom and her sister’s came for a visit today.    She is almost 2 months old and she’s already smiling and trying to communicate and is just oh-so-sweet.

Thanks Melissa for letting me snuggle your Ellie today!