Friday, April 30, 2010

Help with the Baby Cards

Here is our little guy . . . just had to show off this picture.

It has taken me FOREVER to get little A's announcement cards done! I started them before he was born, knowing that afterwards it just wouldn't happen. All I had to do was mount his info and a picture. How hard is that?

With free time being pretty non-existent, I enlisted the help of my ever-so-helpful kiddos. Here is our little set-up:

E enjoys helping me "scrapbook." (Even if it just means taking the sticky corners off!) Afterwards he had to make a card of his own. . .he wrote "I like it when mommy feeds Aaron." He wanted to sent this card to his friend. So far we have held onto it. . .not sure if his friend needs a card that says that!

Here is the front:

Here is the inside:

Now to get them addressed and in the mail. Wonder how long that will take! :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thankful Mom Reflections

My thoughts have been overflowing with reasons to be a thankful mom and I wanted to post them all right away. But life has a way of keeping busy and handing out a few discouragements. And time passes by, and those initial thoughts I had were not written down on paper {or typed, as the case may be}. I felt so blessed with the birth of our third child, and then discouraged by his jaundice and lack of weight gain. After a little work, this all sorted itself out, and I now have the time and energy to slowly get this all down (even if this post is taking over a week to complete!)

Yet, I remain very thankful as a mom, still, and wanted to share a few thoughts with you. I am overwhelmed with God's grace and blessings pouring into my life and the life of my family right now.

(I need to warn you, if you are afraid of "TMI", skip reading this post. I don't mean to tell you too much, complain, or gain your pity—I just want to reflect on a few thing many moms can identify with and have probably felt as well.)

I am so thankful. . .

*I'm thankful for new life. It's always amazing when a new baby is born into your family, or joins your family in the case of adoption. God created a good thing when he designed us to live in family units and among communities to support us and bring us close to him. New life always shows me how life is a miracle and a blessing. After A was born, I had someone say to me, "Oh, its number three. I guess it's not quite as exciting anymore." I couldn't disagree more! No matter if it is your first or your fifth, life is a miracle and a blessing, and I am very thankful for it, especially when I am able to hold a new, precious life in my arms.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. . ." ~James 1:17

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." ~Psalm 127:3

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" ~2 Corinthians 9:15

*I'm thankful for life. After dealing with a sub-chorionic hemorrhage throughout this pregnancy, and the resulting risk of miscarriage, it is comforting to know God protected little A and had a plan for him that involved a healthy entry into this world. After little A was born, my attending doctor gave us a little biology lesson. She showed us the placenta, umbilical cord and all that, and showed us again, how God is gracious. In little A's case, the umbilical cord was attached at the very possible edge of the placenta. Our doctor said that this usually causes complications and even early child loss in most cases and she had only seen this in very rare cases. I know of a friend whose baby had a knot in the umbilical cord, but her baby was delivered perfectly healthy and another whose babies arrived much too early and are now healthy, strong, and energetic twins. And I sit back and marvel at how good and gracious our Heavenly Father is.

"For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

"Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you. . ." ~Jeremiah 1:5

*I'm thankful for life's noises. What a joyful noise it is to hear cooing and yawning, squawks and cries. What a joyful noise it is to hear peaceful sleeping and gentle rustling. And what a joyful noise it is to hear E and A exclaiming how cute or beautiful their new baby brother is, to hear them proudly tell other people about little A, and to hear their concern every time little A makes any noises whatsoever!

"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise." ~Psalm 8:2

"From the fullness of grace we have received one blessing after another." ~John 1:16

*I'm thankful for the extra work—the laundry, the feeding, the coping, the teaching to share, the reminding, the enforcing of rules, the watching, the organizing, the cleaning, the baths, the messes, the everything that comes along with a new life. Yes, I know, you are thinking I must be crazy! But all that reminds me of how good God has been to me and my family.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." ~Colossians 3:17

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:19

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." ~Psalm 136:1

*I'm thankful for protection of life and healing. (Warning: this may be a TMI point, so skip reading this one if you must!)My husband and I are very thankful for a good delivery in little A's case. Now, granted, for us, the word "good" must be interpreted in a relative manner. After telling someone we had a good delivery, they were "glad all was problem-free, smooth, and easy." I can't say those are the words I would use to describe it all, but when you considering our last two deliveries involved 3rd and 4th degree tearing, O.R. surgeons, considerable blood loss, talk of transfusions, baby heart rates dropping into danger zones, code whites and emergency help being called in, assisted births (suction), and babies being placed in the NICU, our past experience of 2nd degree tears, 2+ litres of blood loss and baby only spending 24 hours in the NICU seems like a good delivery to me! It is also amazing to keep in mind God's protection of life and his intricate design of healing He worked into the bodies He gave us. Whether a delivery was great, good or bad, God is a Protector and Healer of the old and young. I'm thankful for doctors, nurses, midwives, and people who dedicate their jobs or their lives to help make the birth of a child happen! What an amazing calling they have.

"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." ~Colossians 1:16

". . .for I am the Lord who heals you." ~Exodus 15:26b

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well . . . your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." ~Psalm 139:13-14, 16

"Cast all your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." ~Psalm 55:22

*I'm thankful for family and friends who have been there to support us throughout pregnancy and now that little A is part of our lives. I feel so blessed to be part of a community of sharing and caring people—who give encouraging words, cards, and e-mails, who have prayed on our behalf or blessed us with scripture, who have offered childcare or a meal, shared baby advice or borrowed clothes—whatever it has been, we have felt God's love shining through you in many ways. We have been surrounded by generosity and kindness, and have greatly appreciated it all! Thank you!

"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." ~Romans 12:13

"Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others faithfully administering God's grace in many forms." ~1 Peter 4: 10

*I'm thankful for the time I get to be home with my family. Don't get me wrong—I love being a teacher and I love the students God placed in my class this year. But as I sit here reflecting on God's gifts to me, I know that spending the next year or more at home with my children is exactly where God wants me to be right now—and I am glad for it! All the things I crammed into my Saturdays and weeknights are now available to me each day. And I get to see my kids grow and learn every moment of every day. I get to see my husband and my kids—my biggest blessings in life—more often now.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." ~2 Peter 3:18

"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." ~Deuteronomy 11: 19

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." ~Proverbs 22:6

I had the change to attend the Women's Connections Group (Coffee break group) at my church a bit ago with my three kids, and this was one of the songs that we sang that morning. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, in light of a new little child being gifted to our family by God's abundant grace, but also in light of who we all are in His sight.

I have a maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hand

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me his own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

Visit to the "Old Classroom"

Last week Friday was supposed to be my last teaching day. Instead, I've been home being mom for the past week and a half.

On Friday I did visit the class with little A. The teacher who replaced me gave me a little bit of time to spend with the kiddos, and I got to share my new family member with them.
{Thank you, Alida! I appreciate the time and effort you put into this for me!!!}

It was my plan to have a little something to give my students on my last day of teaching, so I am glad I did plan ahead a little, and at least have these bookmarks ready!
Below you can see an example of the front and the back side of the bookmarks. On the front, I wrote the meaning of their names, along with a Bible verse from Psalm 127:3--"Children are a gift from the Lord. . ."
{We started the year with a unit on "God Made me Special" and we talked a little bit about Who made us unique and wonderful creations, and we also talked a little bit about our names--the names our parents gave to us and the names God has for us. The Bible verse really describes the gift God gave me by placing each of my students in my class. I told many of the parents who were there on Friday this, but this class has truly been a blessing to me! They were such a wonderful bunch of kids--so full of life, so eager, so well-behaved, so compassionate, so much fun! I will miss them!}
Then on the back I wrote a little message for each of them.

And of course, I had to give away some candy too! Who can resist pixie stix?!?!? :)

Then, the class also had a surprise for me! Here is the big class card that they made:
The back:
I was blessed with many cards, notes, pictures, stories, crafts, and gifts from the students and parents in the class. What a treat! Thank you, 1C, for the great school year we shared and for blessing both little A and myself when I came to visit. It was great to see you all again!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A giveaway. . .

A dear friend of mine is having a giveaway! Koralee from Bluebird Notes has a beautiful and creative blog!

Hop on over to her blog to check it out and to enter the giveaway from Saky Saks. Click here to get there!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Menu Plan. . .

Well, it's obviously not Monday anymore, and my head isn't quite wrapped around menu planning yet (more so on "how many hours has it been since last feeding? how much laundry can a little kid make? do I really need to walk up and down the stairs again?"--you get the idea), but here is my go at it anyway!

With baby arriving much sooner than anticipated, I ran out of time to put a few more meals in the freezer. I am very thankful for the doubling up of meals (one to eat, one for the freezer)I have done so far, and figure that will tie us over until I can stand long enough to make a decent meal again. Otherwise, there is frozen pizzas, left-overs, grilled cheese, or mac and cheese, right? :) I don't think we are going to suffer! :)

Monday-Lasagna, rolls, corn (my friend dropped off this huge lasagna for us after we came home from the hospital--which is a HUGE treat for us as well cuz I never make it--not sure I ever have--and we rarely buy it either. . .but I still love lasagna! Yah, I'm one of those people who order lasagna at a restaurant when everyone else is thinking, "Live a little, already!")
Tuesday-sub sandwiches, fruit salad
Wednesday-Sweet & Sour Chicken stir-fry (freezer meal--just need to add a few veggies), noodles
Thursday (CP)-Bacon and Cheese Chicken, rice salad (I'll make this one yet! I think it has been on the plan for a month now? It's super fast and easy to throw together, so I think it will do!)
Friday-left-overs or so
Saturday's Snack- (maybe next week. . .not sure I'm up to being that creative this week!)
Sunday- pancakes, bacon

Check out many more exciting menu plans this week at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The New Guy

With a due date of April 25 or 26, and the fact that both my other kiddos were overdue, I was expecting a late April or May baby! But our little guy decided to join the world on April 14 instead!

Aaron Joel
April 14 @ 10:57AM
7 lbs, 9 oz., 22 inches.

The above is a picture of us when he is 24+ hour old! What a peanut!

Below is his arrival into the world. He was quite blue/purple when he was born. He wasn't breathing very well on his own. So here is my doctor and nurses trying to give him some oxygen and check him out minutes after he was born.

He was soon rushed off to the NICU where he received oxygen in his little incubator/isolette. He was hooked up to all the monitors because his respiration was very sporadic as well. His glucose levels were monitored, too. They believed that this was due to how hard he was working just to breathe on his own. They pumped him full of some formula in hopes to balance this out.
Here is a proud Mommy about 8 hours later when I was finally well enough to make it to the NICU to visit him.
He was taken off of oxygen about 6 hours after being born, but was kept in the NICU because of his respiration, low glucose levels and he still turned purple and blue at times. He was finally released after 24 hours, and I got to have him back into my room!
Here is Opa and Oma bringing the E and A to see their new baby brother! They had to wait to hold and touch him until the next day.
Proud Daddy holding Aaron when he was finally back in the room with us!
In his little bed, all swaddled up.
An "eyes-open" picture! (About 28 hrs old).
He was given a bath in the NICU that we got to watch, but since we were staying another night, we gave him a bath again. Here he is all cozy after his bath. (And the jaundice is kicking in!)
And here he is finally at home (2 days later) and sleeping!
A and Daddy checking out Aaron.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week Post

Okay, I have to admit. . .even after a year or so of blogging, I still don't have it all straight! I started a post, saved it as a draft, edited it, and wanted to post it now, but it posted in order of when I saved it in a draft. I figured it would post as a "new" one because I finished it and edited it now. Not sure how to solve that problem. . .

Anyway, here is a link to the post I made. Enjoy. . .
(* Note: the picture comes from here.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

A Menu Plan Monday on time? Can it be true? :)

I have one or two meals from last week to try this week as we never got around to it. I also made lots of scalloped potatoes last week, one for the freezer and some homemade hash browns for the freezer. Just making sure there is a meal or two extra in the freezer.

A highlight from last week was the Pork Tenderloins with a Mang0-Lime Salsa. Again, this was a recipe my sister made that I had to get from her. It sounded spicy, but it wasn't at all! It was a perfect blend of spices! See below for photos and recipe.

Monday-sub-type sandwiches and tomato soup

Tuesday-Chicken-Bacon Pizza, salad

Wednesday-Spaghetti (or left-overs)

Thursday (CP)-Cheese and Bacon Chicken, rice, corn

Friday- tacos

Saturday's Snack- Macaroni Salad (see below)

Sunday (breakfast)- pancakes, ham

Pork Tenderloin and Mango-Lime Salsa

The marinade for the pork was a mixture of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sage and salt. The pork had to be brushed with olive or vegetable oil and then the marinade (rub) was put on and left overnight. Then, you take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling, and. . .perfect-o!

The salsa was unique--I think the mint and honey was what really made it! The salsa was made from diced mango, tomato, sweet onion, Serrano or jalapeno chili, fresh mint, honey, the juice of a lime, and salt. This should be made an hour or two before serving. You can use other fruits instead of mango, like peaches, apricots, pineapples or papaya. This recipe was from a grilling book she had. . .and once it was all put together, it was amazing!

Here is the pork marinading. . .for those of you who like to see raw meat!

Here is supper--see the grill lines my hubby made? I LOVE that!!!

And the kids got jealous of pictures that might, so here is them eating too!

And finally, the Snack Saturday recipe:
Macaroni Salad
This recipe is a WW kind of one--something from one of those diet cookbooks , but from ages ago. It is just light and nice, although I double the sauce part, so maybe it isn't as light as I think it is. :) anyway, I served it with hamburgers this past weekend and it seemed to go over well. My hubby even asked me to make it again--which he NEVER does about it. Maybe it has just been that long since I have made it that his tastes have changed. Any-hoo. . .if you are having a BBQ or a lunch, it is a good take-along type item.
1/4 c. buttermilk (I usually don't have this in the house, so I always make the "alternative" way of doing it--thanks to the LCS cookbook. For 1 c. you mix 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar with cream or milk and let stand for 5 minutes. This time I used half and half and lemon juice)
1 T. mayonnaise
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. each salt and prepared mustard
2 T each chopped red bell pepper and green onion
dash each of garlic powder and pepper
1-1/2 c. cooked elbow macaroni or "the twirly-whirly" noodles (I totally forget what those ones are called! fushelli?)
1/4 c. chopped celery and tomato (I omit these and grate carrot instead)
In a bowl, combine milk, mayo, sugar and seasonings, stirring until smooth and well-mixed. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least one hour).
*Note, the sauce "soaks" in, so if it seems kind of runny at first, it won't be later!
Enjoy For more MPM, see (I'm #312!)

Our New Toy

Yesterday we told our kiddos we had a surprise--an early birthday present (very early!--we just needed a "good" excuse to give them this!) The weather is supposed to be good over the next few days, so a new outdoor toy is just what they need. And maybe when baby comes around, they will have an extra something to keep them occupied!

Look how good they are being. . .because they know something good must be coming!

Then we sent them on a hunt for the surprise. . .

And finally they got to use it!!!

Here are all the before pictures--them trying to figure it all out. (And daddy getting ready to set it up!
Here are all the after pictures--them having fun with it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Okay, okay! I've heard it from enough people! Here are a few more pictures. . .and one of me and the kiddos!
(It's just not super flattering being quite preggo and in photos! Everyone else just makes the pictures look so much nicer!)
So here is the {wonderful} work I did on A's hair. And no, she doesn't get this daily. I'm no super- mom! This is a "special occasions" hair-do in our house!

And here is E looking all sophisticated!
And {gulp} me.

The photographer just did such a nicer job. . .can't wait to get some of those prints back!

A Recipe for Tracy. . . and MPM!

So here is a recipe I needed to post from my MPM, and one requested by my SIL! Here you go!!!

French Toast Casserole

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

sliced bread (about 1 loaf)

5 eggs

1 ½ cups milk

Melt butter, pour in bottom of 9x13 pan. Top butter with brown sugar and cinnamon. Put ripped up bread over the top. Beat eggs and milk and pour over the bread. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight (you can skip this step). Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with syrup.

You can freeze this before baking it!

Here's how it can be changed: My sister doubled the bottom so that it didn't really need any syrup at all. And she used raisin bread. MMMMMMM! I was in heaven. Thus I promptly got on her computer and e-mailed her recipe to me!

What I have done with my family (and with the extended family over) is make the bottom & spray the sides of the Pyrex (this prevents it from sticking!!!). Then I used half a loaf of "healthy bread" (which my son calls bird-seed bread--he doesn't like it! but this gets him eating it in disguise!), put a layer of cinnamon and raisins, then do half a loaf of white bread, and top it with some more cinnamon and raisins. I had to save an un-raisin-ed portion for my bro-in-law who doesn't like them. Then I topped it all with 7 eggs and milk (because we had lots!). It was delicious! We served it with bacon and fruit salad.

Crunchy Fruit Salad

(From Saturday's Snack--MPM post)

For this recipe, use your favourite fruits. I generally use grapes, bananas, strawberries, kiwis and oranges. Then I take 1/2 c. sour cream and mix it with 1-2 T white sugar and a splash of lemon juice. This will get mixed into the fruit just before serving!

For the topping, use:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (or margarine)
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, oats and walnuts. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or cross cutting with 2 knives, until you have coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping on a sprayed cookie sheet or pan.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 15 minutes or until crunchy.

To serve, mix fruit. Mix sauce with fruit. Spoon into serving bowls. Spoon topping over fruit. You can add a dollop of whipped cream if you desire! And enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I know I missed last week. We had such a busy week with wedding/family plans that we just pretty much ate whatever was there. I honestly can't remember what we even had for supper at all!

But this week, everything returns to normal again!

Monday-Peanut Chicken Stir-fry, noodles, salad
Tuesday-Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Mini Meatloaves, corn
Wednesday-Pork Tenderloin (on the grill) with Mango Salsa (recipe from Helen), rice, veggies and dip
Thursday(CP)-Bacon and Cheese Chicken, Oven Baked Jo-Jo's
Friday- left-overs
Saturday's Snack- Crunchy Fruit Salad
Sunday (Breakfast for Supper)- French Toast Casserole, bacon and fruit salad

Well, in looking for the recipe for Saturday's snack, I couldn't find it. So, hopefully I will post that later on this week.
(April. 7 Update: Posted the recipe. . .click on the links above!)

Instead, here is what we had tonight:

Peanut Chicken Stir-fry
(I believe the recipe came from, but I can't find it. I got it from my sister. I may have been eating at her house once and cleaned up on this--I really liked it!)
2 T. crunchy peanut butter
1T. each: soya sauce & lemon juice
1-1/2 t. brown sugar
1/4 t. hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic
1T. vegetable oil
2 c. frozen Asian vegetables

1. In a small bowl, whisk together first 5 ingredients. Whisk in 1 T water until smooth; set aside.
2. In large skillet, stir-fry chicken and garlic in oil over high heat, until almost cooked, about 5 minutes. Add vegetables and stir-fry until vegetables are heated through. Stir in sauce mixture and stir-fry until chicken and vegetables are coated.
3. Serve with Lipton Sidekicks Thai Ginger Noodles.
*When I make this, I just use assorted vegetables that are on hand or in the freezer. Also, I usually just serve it with Ramen Noodles (not in the soup form). My son likes the "curly noodles!" We add a salad, and it is an easy meal!

Here is a photo just before I mixed the sauce in. Colourful and yummy.

For more menu plan ideas, go to!

Wedding Snapshots

Here are a few quick photos of our family that were taken at home before this weekend's wedding. I thought my family looked absolutely fantastic!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

I don't claim to have a son who is an artist, but I thought I would share his picture anyway.
This is Jesus--he said you could tell by the "pokey crown" and the "holes on his hands and feet."
This morning he couldn't understand why mommy and daddy were both home from work. We talked about "Good Friday." Then he brought every Bible in our house to me so we could read every single possible story about it. So the family had a big "read-together."

This was one of those moments that I think I might "ponder in my heart" because this weekend is wedding weekend for my MIL. This means time for church, etc has been silently omitted--something that was hard for me to like. I'm glad we got to spend some time as a family worshipping and remembering the huge sacrifice and gift of Jesus' death on the cross.

And. . .the above picture turned up on the card he made on his own for Grandma. :) There was Jesus with the crown and holes in his hands and feet and just below that was Grandma looking like a princess. He is out in the rain right now picking dandelions for her because "those are the two things [a card and dandelion flowers] you give people when they get married."

Blessings as you remember God's gift to us this Easter. . .