Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Menu Monday

OK, I know it's almost Wednesday already, but here's another edition of Menu "Monday".

Last week didn't require a whole lot of thought.....
Monday - we ordered in pizza as it was cheap night here in town
Tuesday - we went to Tony Roma's for Nathan's company Christmas supper
Christmas Eve - we went out to Olive Garden after our church's choir service
Christmas Day - we had supper at Nathan's parents
so I only had to make 2 meals!
Friday - taco salad
Saturday - chicken quesadillas

So, here's this week....
Monday - chicken fingers
Tuesday - lasagna
New Year's Eve - Nathan and I are going out for dinner & a movie - The Keg!!!
New Year's Day - Christmas at Nathan's parents
Friday & Saturday - don't know yet - I'm out of planning mode, better luck next week!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

We are going on a cruise!

As you can see by my ticker, we are going on a cruise! We're doing a western Caribbean cruise with stops in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize City and Roatan (Honduras). I'm so excited! We went on a cruise 2 years ago (stops in Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica) and absolutely loved it! We've been to Puerta Vallarta twice, and though we enjoyed those trips as well, there was just something about the cruise that set it apart.

Last time we didn't do many excursions. In Key West we simply walked the island ourselves, which was fun. In Cozumel we just walked the main strip and did a little shopping. In Grand Cayman we did a snorkeling tour, and in Jamaica, we just did a little shopping close to the ship.

This time we'd like to do more tours of the islands themselves. Other than Key West, I felt like we didn't see much of the destinations themselves.

We'd also like to do a zipline excursion of some sort. After watching Amazing Race we're really excited about doing that. In Cozumel there is actually an "Amazing Race" excursion you can go on, but I know there's also a zipline one there so we'll probably end up doing that one.

And, yes, we are going by ourselves! Our kids are being babysat at our house, by my cousins for about 24 hrs, then my parents are coming down from the City (right close by) for a few days, then Nathan's parents are having them at their place (here in our hometown) for a few days. I think the kids will have almost as much fun as we will :)

Let the countdown begin!!!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Sunday School Christmas Program

Our church had our Sunday School Christmas program this past Sunday. The Grade 2 class were asked to draw illustrations for the bulletin - so there were numerous different bulletins handed out with different illustrations from the students. Here is the bulletin we got - illustrated by our Emma of course!

Here is some video from the program, starting with our youngest Sunday School kid. (I can't believe Jacob will be up there next year!)

During this segment, the 3 yr olds brought their favourite toy along to answer the question "If you were to visit Jesus in the manger, what would you bring Him?" Olivia got a gingerbread girl as a gift from her SS teachers that morning, so guess what her new favourite toy is?

In case you don't recognize them, Sophia is the sheep.....

Emma is the angel on the far left.....

Aren't they adorable?!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Push Up Update

So, after Week 2 of the PushUp training program you're supposed to do another exhaustion test to see where you're at. Basically you do as many consecutive pushups as you can without killing yourself. I had to do this before starting the program so see what level of training to follow.

Before starting the program I could do 11.

Now..... drum roll please..... I can do 28!

That's a pretty good improvement in 4 weeks of training I'd say (yes, it took me 4 weeks to do 2 weeks worth of training - I repeated one day for one week because it was so difficult, and took almost a week off when we went on our little trip). Unfortunately this also means I have to train at the highest level of training this week - and this week's training looks scary! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Jacob - 10 months

Here's Jacob's 10 month picture. He even got a cute little haircut so we can style it now - it's hard to tell in this picture cause of the tree background. He looks like such a little man! He's a cutie.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Menu Monday

Monday - homemade pizza and pizza pinwheels for lunches
Tuesday - lasagna
Wednesday - homemade sub sandwiches
Thursday - tacos
Friday - Ringette party
Saturday - sweet n sour sausage
Sunday - Christmas at my parents!!!! Not sure what's on the menu, we take turns picking the Christmas menu every year and it's my parents turn to pick this year (I think!).

Friday, 12 December 2008

Wrenikje Recipe

As requested, here is the recipe for wrenikje (cottage cheese perogies) that I got from my mom who makes awesome perogies.

4 cups flour
2 cups light sour cream (1 small container)
2 egg whites

4 cups dry curd cottage cheese (1 large container)
2 egg yolks
salt & pepper to taste (1 - 2 tsp)

Mix dough ingredients (love my KitchenAid!), roll out, top with filling, cut & seal (love my perogy cutter!). If you freeze them first there should be less chance of them opening up.

Then boil and serve if you like them that way. Or boil and fry if you like them that way. I fry mine just using Pam so I can pretend it's healthy.

With the leftover dough, we make empties - boiled and fried as well - we nicknamed them "heart attacks".

Last time I made these the recipe made 46 perogies and 8 "heart attacks" - enough for 2 meals for our family (when I make them alongside farmer sausage and corn)

2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp flour
milk (may 1 1/2 cups?)
salt and pepper to taste
sausage drippings

Melt margarine in a saucepan on medium heat, add flour to form a roux, stirring like this for one or two minutes to "cook" the flour. While whisking the entire time, slowly add milk. Stir continuously (or milk will burn) until it boils at which point gravy will thicken. If it is too thick, gradually add more milk until it is the desired consistency. Add in sausage drippings (if you have) and season to taste.

Serve over perogies, noodles or rice.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Push Up Update

I have to admit that I did not do pushups during our little holiday - but I did swim every day and one day I even exercised on the hotel elliptical and treadmill for 30 mins (total, not each:)

But today I was back on the pushup attack and managed to do Week 2, Day 1 which was 5 sets of pushups - 14, 14, 10, 10, 15 with 60 seconds rest between each set. Which means I can do 63 pushups in less than 10 mins - not too shabby if I do say so myself!

Menu Wednesday

Here's Menu Wednesday as promised!

Just to make you jealous, here's some of the places we ate out on the weekend - Paradiso, Ruby Tuesdays, Chili's, Green Mill, and Johnny Carino's. Carino's was amazing! This was the first time we'd been and it was sooo good. Definitely going back there.

Anyway, here's the menu for the rest of the week....

Wednesday - Rachael Ray's Chicken with Mushroom-Dijon gravy (but with no dijon cause I don't have any).
Thursday - wrenikje (cottage cheese perogies) and sausage (which I practically don't have to make cause they're in the freezer!)
Friday - spaghetti
Saturday - probably tacos
Sunday - probably homemade subs - has to be a quick one before the SS Christmas concert!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Best school lunch idea EVER!

A few weeks ago at a girls night out with the ladies from our now-broken-up-bible-study group, we were discussing meal planning (hence my renewed effort to plan meals - Menu Monday!) and school lunch packing, and somehow the fact came up that my awesome pizza dough recipe made enough for 3 pans of pizza and I only need 2 pans for supper and some leftovers. I've never had much luck freezing dough and using it later. So Pam (the cooking guru!) gave me a wonderful idea!!!

She said to roll out the remaining dough and top it with pizza toppings, roll it up and cut it (like cinnamon buns), then bake and freeze - voila! Pizza pinwheels - perfect for school lunches.

Our kids absolutely LOVE them!!

So, thank you to Pam for the great idea - and now I am passing it along to all of you in bloggyland!

Christmas Traditions

I'd like to start more traditions in our family - especially Christmas traditions. We already have a few - we always attend the Christmas Eve choir service at our church, for ex, but I'd like to have more. I recently found this blog that has 100 Christmas Tradition ideas! The trick will be finding ones I like that my other half doesn't find too dorky. I'm much more apt to be dorky than he is :) I also find the trouble with 100 ideas is that it's so many I don't even know where to start!

At our COFFEE Connections (morning out for ladies at our church) this morning one of the women talked about a tradition they did - each child got to pick a character (shepherd, wise man, etc) and they would start from varying places in the room, depending on how far they had to travel to see Baby Jesus. As their particular part of the story was read they would move towards the Christmas tree. When the time came for Baby Jesus to be born, they would take a special gift ornament off the tree. It was a small box wrapped in gold wrapping paper, signifying Heaven and tied with a blue ribbon to signify royalty. Inside the box Baby Jesus was also wrapped in red and white tissue paper. White signified Jesus' absolutely purity and sinlessness and the red stood for the blood He shed to pay for our sins. I thought this was a fun tradition!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Monday, 1 December 2008

Menu Monday

Monday - homemade chicken fingers and fries
Tuesday - sweet n' sour sausage and rice
Wednesday - tacos
Thursday - spaghetti and focaccia bread
Friday - supper with the inlaws
Saturday through Tuesday - restaurant meals cause we're going away for the "weekend"!!!

So, next week will be Menu Wednesday I guess :)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

When Nathan Met Tammy

A new friend of mine asked me how Nathan and I met and I thought it would be a good idea for a post ...

We were actually set up by a mutual friend. A guy I went to church with (Mario) and Nathan played on the same hockey team. Mario brought Nathan to church one Sunday to check me out :). Then Mario invited me to come watch one of their hockey games. I went and was introduced to his friend Nathan. I didn't really think anything of it at the time because I was enjoying having recently become single. It took a couple of months for Nathan to get the nerve up to call me and ask me out for coffee. And it was very unlike me to say yes to a guy I barely remembered!

But I did say yes and we went to Manhattan's restaurant for our first date. I actually remember hoping that I wouldn't have a good time because I was enjoying being single. But, obviously I enjoyed myself a lot! We absolutely hit it off right from the start. I was 17 (fairly close to 18) and he was almost 19 when we started dating in January of 1995. We knew very quickly that we would get married. When I re-read the Valentine's card I gave him merely weeks later, I can't believe what I all wrote in there!

We were engaged in November when he proposed to me at Manhattan's, and were married the following July - 12 wonderful years ago!

I love him more all the time - I am blessed to be his wife. I am a stronger and better person because of his love and encouragement.

These are the lyrics to the songs sung at our wedding.....

Years From Here (4PM)
Standing here face to face, I feel my heart overflowing with love and emotion
The moment you took my hand, there was no doubt in my mind about our future
I don't need a crystal ball, through your eyes I see it all

Years from here, we'll look back and treasure
this moment forever inside our hearts
And from here to there, we'll make a million memories
that we can share years from here

I can promise you this with every breath I take, I'll live to love you
I'll go above and beyond to give you everything that one man can give you
I know we've just begun and the best is still yet to come

Years from here, we'll look back and treasure
This moment forever inside our hearts
And from here to there, we'll make a million memories
That we can share years from here.

The Smile on Your Face (Alison Krauss)
It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart

Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll [always love] me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me where ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking aloud
But when you hold me near you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What's been said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll [always love] me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll [always love] me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

[ ] lyrics changed by me
I know I also changed the lyrics to that crystal ball line but I can't remember it exactly right now!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

PushUp Update

My abs are so sore. Seriously.

Pushups affect your abs much more than I thought they did. On Day 1 of my workout I had a really hard time doing the situps after the pushups. Today, for Day 2 - my abs hurt so bad I literally could not do the situps at all. So, I will wait till my abs have recovered a bit, and then I will do 1/2 the situps and see how that goes.

My armpits hurt too of course. Ugh - this is gonna be hard!

Each workout is 5 sets of pushups. Day 1 you rest 60 seconds, Day 2 you rest 90 seconds, Day 3 you rest 180 seconds (or more if needed), then it starts over again at 60 seconds. Today I did 10, 12, 8, 8 and then the max you can do - which was 14!!!! Go me!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Menu Monday

2 posts in 1 day?! Pick your jaw up off the floor and read on...

OK, so I've decided that I have to get back to menu planning because it's just ridiculous to wait until 4:45 pm every day to decide what to make for supper that night. I've done it for 2 weeks now and I'm going to start posting Menu Mondays! (I think you'll notice we tend to have the same boring things over and over again :)

Monday - chicken and mushroom sauce over noodles, peas, garlic bread
Tuesday - wrenikje (perogies with cottage cheese inside) and sausage
Wednesday - tacos
Thursday - hopefully a quick restaurant meal - we want to go see "Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (the kids will have babysitter food - either pizza pops or sandwhiches)
Friday - homemade pizza

There ya have it. OK, I know I didn't do Saturday or Sunday - but hey, 5 out of 7 ain't bad!

And, yes, I am making those perogies from scratch myself - I'm pretty good at it too, if I do say so myself :)

Now, I better get defrosting that chicken....

Edited to add: we ended up having chicken fingers and fries instead - kids request. I tried a new chicken finger recipe and it was awesome!!!

Here it is...
1lb chicken breast (I just used 2 large ones)
1/2 cup flour seasoned with paprika, oregano, pepper, italian seasoning, seasoning salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups corn flakes processed in the blender along with a little more of the above spices
2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp oil

Flour the chicken, dip in egg, roll in corn flakes. In a skillet on medium high heat, heat margarine and oil. Fry chicken for approx 5 mins on each side. If you can't fit all the chicken in at one time, reserve some margarine/oil for the 2nd go round otherwise the 2nd batch won't taste quite as good/unhealthy. You could also bake these for a healthier version - but they won't taste the same! :)

New fitness goal

Since giving birth 10 months ago for the fourth time, I have managed to shed most of the baby weight I had leftover. I've lost about 20 lbs and have only about 6 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight. However, I've been at the point for about 2 months now already. Part of the problem? All my clothes fit again. Huh? How is that a problem you ask? Well, it's harder to be motivated when one of your big motivating factors was to be able to fit into your pre-baby clothes!

So, I'm making a new fitness goal - I found The Hundred Pushups Training Program. Now, I have to admit I'm rather out of shape at this point - something which is rather unusual for me actually. I have been committed to exercising about 5 days a week for about 10 years now. During the summer my exercise takes the form of hour to hour and a half long walks pushing a heavy double stoller with my best friend Candace. For some reason though, I just haven't managed to get myself back into exercising indoors after the weather made these outdoor walks rather unpleasant. And since I was only walking in the summer and not weight training - well, let's just say that I felt my pushup test was rather pathetic. I did the initial test which is basically just doing as many full body pushups as you can with proper form.

I did 11.

Now, I somewhat regretting pushing past 10 because that means my training program is starting off a lot harder than it would've been if I had done 10 cause I made it up into the next category! Argh! Anyway, today was my first training day and I am committing to going through the program and I'm making it public so I have some accountability!

I'm adding an extra challenge though - I'm also going for 100 situps (using the Bender Ball I purchased which makes them really hard!) . I'm using the same program to work up to this goal.

So, there you have it! Go me!

Edited to add: I am also doing aerobics every other day - and I'll likely do some lower body weight training the same days I do the pushups/situps training.

Monday, 27 October 2008

My beautiful children

Well, I'm on a roll, so I may as well keep going.

I've been wanting to take pictures of all 4 kids for awhile now. The last picture we have of all the kids together is when Olivia was 1. So, yeah, time for an update.

Plus I needed to take the older girls school pictures. Since I'm too much of a cheapskate to order the real school ones, and since Walmart keeps downsizing their package, I've been forced to resort to taking my own. They did, however, turn out very well I must admit.

I also took Jacob's 8 month picture a little while ago and ordered those. So, poor Olivia is the only one without a new picture. (She had her 3yr picture taken in June - so it's not like I don't do them!)

Here's our big boy!

Here is the picture that was hardest to get - all 4 kids! Have you tried to get 4 kids ages 7, 5, 3 and 9 months old to all look at the camera at the same time, nevermind smile for it? And no fake smiles either?! Impossible I tell you! And despite complaints of knees being scraped raw by the rocks, this one turned out pretty good. :)

I cannot believe how grown up my firstborn looks already....

Come now, is this not the best grin ever?!

Finally another post!

OK, I realize it's been a LONG time since I've posted. I have good reasons too, but no time to post them. In fact, I have no time to be posting period, but I will anyway - who needs sleep? It's highly over-rated.

I will make it quick though - mainly pictures. I finally took some of the girls routines to show you. This is still working remarkably well I'm happy to report. And it's so cute the way Olivia says routine. She LOVES having a routine.

Anyway, without further ado, here they are....

I can just hear her saying her routine.... "get dressed, put my clothes away, brush my teeth, make my bed, put my toys away" - she loves to tell people her routine.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Jacob's 6 month picture

I took WAY to many pictures of Emma when she was a baby. You know Walmart and their el-cheapo package? Well, it caused me to go picture happy. And yes, when you only have 1 baby you can go to photo shoots fairly regularly. Unfortunately, what you do for your first you're supposed to do for the rest. Why didn't somebody stop me?!?!

This is seriously how often I took Emma for pictures...... 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 8 months, 10 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2yrs and then I finally did only 1 per year. Insane!!!!!!!!

But, amazingly enough I have followed through with all our kids - except I did away with the 5 month picture. I mean really, let's be reasonable here.

I have made things slightly easier on myself by starting to take some of the pictures myself. Walmart's package keeps getting smaller - and I'm cheap! :)

Anyway - here is Jacob's 6 month picture. I realize he's already 8 months, so it's time for another one..... sigh

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Routines for Kids

Taking inspiration from Pam's blog and how she's such a mean mom, I mixed in a little Flylady and decided it was time to make up routines for our kids to follow. They were really excited about it. I let them pick out their colours and stuff. This is sort of what they look like - in real life there are also pink boxes around all of Emma's routine, etc. I used Blogger for Word to put my file on here so that's why it's a bit messed up. Sophia & Olivia's routines are in pictures because they can't read yet. I can't figure out how to get the pictures to work too, so I guess I'll have to take a picture of their and post it later. Here's Emma's Routine....

Emma's Routine

Monday Morning

Tuesday Morning

Wednesday Morning

Thursday Morning

Friday Morning

Saturday Morning

Sunday Morning

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Get dressed and tidy closet

Make bed

Make bed

Make bed

Make bed

Make bed

Make bed

Make bed

Fill water bottle and pack lunch bag

Fill water bottle and pack lunch bag

Fill water bottle and pack lunch bag

Fill water bottle and pack lunch bag

Fill water bottle and pack lunch bag

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Brush teeth

Swish toilet, wipe bathroom mirror

Swish toilet, wipe sink and countertop

Swish toilet, wipe bathroom mirror

Swish toilet, wipe sink and countertop

Swish toilet, wipe bathroom mirror

Swish toilet, wipe sink and countertop

Swish toilet, wipe bathroom mirror

Monday Afternoon

Tuesday Afternoon

Wednesday Afternoon

Thursday Afternoon

Friday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon

Go through backpack with Mom

Go through backpack with Mom

Go through backpack with Mom

Go through backpack with Mom

Go through backpack with Mom

Sweep and mop floors in living area

Clean out and put away lunch bag

Clean out and put away lunch bag

Clean out and put away lunch bag

Clean out and put away lunch bag

Clean out and put away lunch bag

Storytime with Emma

Put away backpack and change clothes

Put away backpack and change clothes

Put away backpack and change clothes

Put away backpack and change clothes

Put away backpack and change clothes

Take turns cleaning ONE of these: dresser or closet

or bed or floor






Practice piano

Practice piano

Practice piano

Practice piano

Practice piano

Do homework

Do homework

Do homework

Do homework

Do homework

Monday Evening

Tuesday Evening

Wednesday Evening

Thursday Evening

Friday Evening

Saturday Evening

Sunday Evening

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Clean up toys and trash in bedroom

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Brush teeth

Shower, brush teeth

Brush teeth

Shower, brush teeth

Brush teeth

Shower, brush teeth

Brush teeth

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Our newest school kid!

Sophia had a fabulous first day of Kindergarten. I think she already thinks she's a pro!

How time flies!

The first day with both of them in school. Emma was so excited to show Sophia "the ropes"! Apparently they even played together at recess time. Awwwww.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

1 Down, 1 to go

Emma started her first day of Grade 2 yesterday and she had a blast!!

Sigh, where did the time go?

Sophia starts Kindergarten tomorrow - she can hardly wait!!!!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Urgent Prayer Request!!!

Nathan's sister Deena and her husband Chris live out west. We just received word that their best friend Bucky was killed in a head on collision today. His wife Leah is expecting their first child in about 6 weeks. Chris is a first responder and he was the first one at the scene. Please pray for them all during this difficult time. Thank you.

Edited to add further details...
Bucky was driving on a gravel road in his truck. A semitruck was driving towards him, stirring up clouds of dust. A farmer was driving behind the semi and decided to pass the semi even though he couldn't see due to all the dust. The semi driver and Bucky waved to each other as they drove by each other - which must have been nanoseconds before the farmer hit Bucky head on. The farmer died the same day as Bucky's funeral.

Everyone's prayers are really helping! Leah is really strong right now. Continue to pray for her as other people begin to go back to their normal lives, while she has to struggle to adjust to a new "normal". Everything looks good with the baby/pregnancy.

Please also pray for Bucky's parents. This is the 2nd child that they have lost - they had a 4 yr old son who died of pneumonia years ago. They have 2 girls left. I cannot imagine going through that once, nevermind twice.

Please continue to pray for all those affected by this tragedy. Thank you.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Magnificent Creation

I'm amazed I actually had my camera with me to capture this rainbow, but since it was on the way home from a trip to the States, it was within easy reach.

I think a rainbow is a great reflection of God's love for us. This rainbow only lasted minutes - how marvelous that God would take the time to create something so beautiful to be viewed by so few. Even if no one would see it, it is a display of His glory and power and creativity.

What an awesome God we serve.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


July 11th is the official day that Jacob can sit. You know, long enough to run for the camera and come back for proof! Anyway, I just video taped him sitting, so here ya go! (It was taken with our regular camera, so it's not the greatest quality, but you get the idea)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The kids rooms

So, we've done some switching around in the kids rooms. Emma & Sophia really wanted to each have their own rooms. So the playroom has now become Sophia's room, and Emma has the big room to herself (since she's the oldest). We split up the toys and now everybody has their own rooms.

Here are Emma & Sophia fast asleep in their new rooms. They share a Jill and Jill bath.

The cutest thing though is that when we went to check on them that first night, they weren't sleeping like the above pictures. They were sleeping like this.....

Here's Jacob's room.

And this is Olivia's room.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Father’s Day Prayer

Lord, please bless our fathers, these men who mean so much to us,
who are greatly responsible for who we are
and who we are becoming.
Bless them for having the courage
to do what’s necessary to keep us out of trouble,
for making us do the right thing, for helping us build our character,
even when it makes us angry;
and bless them for pushing us to do our best,
even when they just want to love us.
Bless our fathers for being our protectors,
for leading us through stormy times to safety,
for making us believe that everything will be all right
and for making it so.
Bless our fathers for quietly making a living
to provide for those they love most,
for giving us food, clothing, shelter
and the other material things that really matter,
for unselfishly investing time and money in us
that they could have spent on themselves.
Bless our fathers, Lord, for saving some energy for fun,
for leading us on adventures
to explore the outer reaches of ourselves,
for making us laugh, for being our playmates and our friends.
Bless them for being our secure foundation, our rock,
for holding on tight to us...until it’s time to let us go
Lord, bless these men we look up to, our role models, our heroes,

our fathers
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs

I am so thankful for the husband I have. Our children are truly blessed to have a father like him.

Daddy's Footsteps
~Author Unknown~

“Walk a little slower, Daddy”,
Said a little child so small.
“I’m following in your footsteps,
And I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up,
You’re what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you.”

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Baby Freebie!

Just found out about a freebie that I thought I'd pass along. If you call Johnson & Johnson at 1-866-565-2229 and request their New Parent Package they will send it to you free of charge as long as you have a valid street address (no PO Boxes). The sample pack includes stuff like moisturizer, face wash, baby lotion, nursing pads, etc. I just "ordered" mine today, they said I should get it in 7 - 10 days. Just thought I'd pass it on...

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Various Hairstyles of Me

Over the years I have changed my hairstyle a lot. And that's probably an understatement. Thankfully Nathan's aunt is a hairdresser!

For the most part I've had short hair - after Olivia was born is the first time I've grown it out since graduating high school.

I've gone red, blonde, dark brown and everything in between!

I'm thinking of cutting and colouring it again, so if you have any favorites, feel free to comment.

Here's a few pictures of the various hairstyles of me....

Pregnancy Photo Shoot

Here are some more pictures from the pregnancy photo shoot my cousin(inlaw) did for me. (Nathan took the ones of Emma & Sophia with me because they weren't there for the photoshoot)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

One Last Disney Post

OK, this is the last Disney post - bear with me!

Our last days at Disney.....

Friday Mom and Dad babysat the kids while we went to Disney Hollywood Studios (previously called MGM) with Shaun & Lynn in the morning so we could ride the Tower of Terror and the Rock N Roller Coaster. They were so much fun! We also took in a stunt show called Lights, Camera, Action!

In Rock N Roller Coaster you are literally launched from the start of the ride - you go from 0 to 58 mph in 2.8 seconds, experiencing 4.5g which is more than astronauts experience on liftoff! The coaster is a limo on it's way to an Aerosmith concert - music plays in the coaster as you ride it which is pretty cool. Check out this link for an excellent description of this ride!

We went back to the house for lunch and did a little shopping and swimming the rest of the day. We went back to Uno's for supper.

Close to Uno's is a little amusement park called Old Town. They have this Slingshot ride where a bungy cord slingshot catapults you 365' in the air! Nathan and Shaun rode this crazy thing - the one ride they were actually a little scared to go on - and it was amazing, or so they said. I'm not gettin on that thing!

We had planned to go see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom the last night we were there because we didn't have to get up early the next day. They start at 10 so we figured we'd cross on the ferry and then watch from there instead of actually going in to the park and fighting the crowds. We were so excited! When we got there however, we discovered that it was grad night and there were no fireworks. The tears flowed let me tell ya! They girls were so disappointed. And since it was close to 10, the Epcot show was over already so we had no other options. And it was our last day so it was our last chance. Next time we go, we'll definitely be checking out the fireworks schedule much more closely!

Saturday was the day we left - we were all sad to go and wished we were staying 2 weeks instead. Next time! Because we had to return the rental vehicles at 1 we had to kill 5 hrs in the airport before our flight left, but that actually went much better than I thought it would. The flight back was good and we ate at the Green Mill for supper close by the Staybridge Suites in Minneapolis.

Sunday we drove to Albertville and did a little shopping there. Then Mom & Dad, Shaun & Lynn went straight home while we decided to stop in the City 3 hrs from home for night. I'm glad we did - they had to wait at the border for 2 hrs Sunday! We stayed at the Staybridge there too, and they gave us a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite for $99! It had a big livingroom area with a full kitchen and there are 2 bedrooms off the living room, one on either side. One with a king bed and a bathroom, the other with 2 double beds and a bathroom. Again the amazing continental breakfast. The regular rate for this room is almost $190. I'm not sure why they gave us such a great deal, but they did! We told the manager how we come down to the Smaller City a few times a year, but we'd consider coming down farther just for this hotel. She said we'd get the same rate every time if we did and that any friends we recommended would get the same rate. FYI!

So, Monday we drove to the Smaller City and did a bit of shopping there yet before heading home - with only a 10 min border wait.

It was such a fabulous vacation, we're tentatively planning to do it again in 1 1/2 years! Can't wait!!!!

Here's a few pics of Hollywood Studios...

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Magic Kingdom - Round 2

OK, back to our vacation.

Quick summary so far....

Friday we drove to Minneapolis - and it went fabulously well. We stayed at the Staybridge Suites using their Park N Fly package - highly recommend it!

Saturday we flew non-stop from Minneapolis to Orlando, arriving by noon. Picked up our rental vehicles (due to a delay in getting there we ended up getting a free upgrade to an extended van because they were out of the "short" ones - mental note for next time, take your time getting to the rental counter!). Got to our house, (check out Romancing the Mouse - amazing vacation home rental company!!) ordered in pizza for a super late lunch. Swimming!!! Went to Walmart Supercenter to get groceries and autograph books for the girls.

Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom - perfect weather, not too busy, minimal lineups by using one of the Unofficial Guide to Disney Touring Plans. We went to Giordano's for supper - yum-o!

Monday Nathan took the girls to IHop for breakfast, then we stayed at the house and relaxed and swam in the morning. Later we did some shopping. We went to Prime Outlets at the north end of International Drive. We tried a short cut to get there, and thanks to my amazing navigational abilities, we didn't even get lost. Don't think it was much of a short cut however. :) Definitely some excellent deals there. The only complaint is the lack of coffee shops down there - what's up with that? They had a big food court in the middle, but there should have had coffee shops at both ends of the "mall". If that was in Canada there likely would've been 2 or 3 Tim Horton's. We went to Ponderosa for supper - that was a mistake. Blech.

Tuesday we went to Magic Kingdom where the girls got to meet the princesses - total highlight! We went to Uno's for supper - absolutely fabulous!! The girls were so tired they all fell asleep at the restaurant. Emma fell asleep right away and didn't even eat any supper till after we got back to the house.

Wednesday Nathan took the girls back to IHop and we spent the day recovering from the previous day, relaxing at our pool while Mom & Dad, Shaun & Lynn went to Epcot for the day. It was great! We did a bit of shopping late afternoon and then we all met up at TGI Friday's for supper.

Thursday Mom & Dad, Shaun & Lynn went to Blizzard Beach water park while we took the girls back to Magic Kingdom...... by ourselves! It actually went really well. We went knowing that we'd just do what we could do, stay till they got tired and go home. The only downside was that it turned out to be Extra Magic Hours (which means the Disney resort guests get to come to the park at least an hour early and stay late which means you lose the advantage of getting there at park opening) - which would be why the UTG didn't recommend MK on Thursday - oh well!

While Nathan and the girls waited in Ariel's Grotto to see The Little Mermaid, I grabbed fastpasses for us all at Peter Pan's Flight as that was one of the girl's favorites. Toontown (and, therefore, the princess autograph lineup) officially opened at 10, so I went and fed Jacob nearby around 9:30 to wait for it to open so I could go stand in line for them. I knew it would open early and it did - at 9:45 - people literally RAN to the lineups. Craziness! Jacob & I restrained ourselves from running, and still managed to get a decent spot in the lineup - in fact I ended up having to let some people go ahead of me before the girls got there. This was my first time seeing them in a character lineup (usually I used those times to feed Jacob) so it was really neat to see them interacting with the characters. BTW - make sure to warn your kids ahead of time that the only characters that actually talk to them are the face characters (like the princesses), the others (like Minnie, Donald, etc) do not actually talk.

The girls rode Goofy's Barnstormer rollercoaster again and then got to tour Minnie's House because it was open today after having been closed for renovations before. Then we rode the Peter Pan ride using our fastpasses. We wanted to go see Storytime with Belle but it was full when we got there and we didn't want to stick around till the next show. We let the girls take a peek inside the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique - the only way to see any part of the castle at all since we were unable to get reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant. Then we went around to the front of the castle where we watched Dream Along with Mickey - a live performance by numerous characters including some princesses - this was definitely another highlight for the girls. After the show we wandered the gift shops a bit, buying the girls each a hat (except Olivia because she insisted she didn't want one). Then we left and went back to the house for a late lunch, swimming and relaxing till we met up with the others for supper at Red Lobster.

Here's some more pictures....


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Magic Kingdom

On the Tuesday of our trip all 10 of us went to Magic Kingdom. As you'll soon see, it was so good to have that many adults there - we got way more done that way.

It takes a little longer to get to MK because after you park in the parking lot you have to take the monorail or a ferry to get there.

The biggest piece of advice I have about the Magic Kingdom - for those of you with little ones, do NOT bother with the Dumbo ride unless you expect an absolute meltdown for avoiding it. We went straight there (like you have to - the lines are crazy for this ride), but by the time you walk down Main Street to get there, it was already 9:10 - we already had to wait 40 mins - to go on a glorified mid-way ride that goes around in circles in a Dumbo instead of an airplane (or whatever). Especially since we later saw a Dumbo "statue" that you could climb into to get your picture taken in.

Some of the adults stood in the Dumbo line for the girls while they rode Cinderella's Carrousel. Uncle Shaun went to get fastpasses for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I should've stood in line at Ariel's Grotto (meet and greet with Little Mermaid), but at the time there was no line so I didn't. Mistake.... by the time Dumbo was done the lineup was long. So, knowing we were coming back another day, we skipped it.

In the meanwhile Uncle Shaun & Auntie Linsay were waiting in the Princess Meet and Greet line for the girls. It ended up being a 45 min wait so we rode Goofy's Barnstormer (kid rollercoaster) while they were waiting. Next the girls got their prized princess autographs (Cinderella, Belle & Sleeping Beauty) and toured Mickey's House. Minnie's House was closed for repairs.

While we were out in Toontown doing all this, Uncle Shaun ran back to get fastpasses for the Peter Pan ride. So, next we went to ride Winnie the Pooh (using our FastPasses). We rode It's a Small World and then saw Mickey's 3D Philharmagic - it was awesome! Even the girls liked it, though they were a little scared in some parts. After that was Peter Pan's Flight - one of the girls' favourite rides.

After all this we got fastpasses for Splash Mountain, took the train back to the exit and then went back to the house for lunch, swimming and a rest.

Then it was back to the MK. I had to feed Jacob so Nathan spent some time with the girls, walking around and eating popcorn while the other adults went on the Haunted Mansion (too scary for the girls).

Then Mom watched Jacob, Nathan took the girls on the Liberty Belle Riverboat ride and I went with the others on Splash Mountain - most of us wore our rain ponchos so we wouldn't get wet! :)

Then we all toured the Swiss Family Treehouse and went on the Jungle Cruise - the tour guide for this ride was hilarious, so this was another favorite.

We were all famished by this point, so we decided to leave. Well, it was 8:30 and the parade starts at 9:30 so it took us awhile to get out of there! But we finally did.

Even though we got so much done, we likely saw only about 1/2 of the park, if that. It was fabulous and the girls loved it! And we were pretty tired!

Check out the pictures.....

Mickey & Minnie's Houses

The Carrousel, Dumbo, It's a Small World

Our girls!

Relaxing back at the house


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