Friday, March 30, 2012

A Servant Heart - Finding Purpose in the Day

A Servant good friend once said that depending on the day, she was either having a servant day or a non-servant day! It is so true. As wives and mothers, we are called to serve in many ways, most of which in my opinion seem trivial, repetitive and somewhat meaningless. I'm talking about the day to day tasks that life requires......dishes, meals, laundry, cleaning, groceries, wiping bums and noses, cleaning up after everyone, putting everyone to bed and then waking up and repeating it all the next day. I found myself getting stuck.....stuck in the mundane and I felt tired, grumpy, unappreciated, bored and just downright unhappy. GASP! Did i just admit that out loud?
To be honest, there were some key things lacking in my life, things that had been tossed to the wayside in the midst of a busy life, a life where I thought I was giving giving giving to everyone but me, but ironically, I was living very selfishly.  I have learned this lesson over and over in my journey of motherhood, so why do I continue to go through these melancholy times? I get to thinking I don't need anyone to help me out in this life....I got it. I mean how hard can it all be? But I realize it is not what you do but how you do it (aka my attitude...which has been kinda sour these past weeks...and what directly affects my attitude? my focus in life). My life has been lacking in personal time with God, and exercise.....two things that I love but for some reason had cut out of my daily routine. Why was it so hard to re-introduce those important parts back into my life? I truly believe it is Satan, wanting to keep me down and as far away from my Savior as possible.....and it was working for quite some time. Anything was a distraction.....housework, TV, facebook (!!), friends, the kids.....and by the time the evening rolled around, I was just too mentally done to process anything deep....or so I thought and that was the excuse I told myself. is day 3 in my 'rehabilitation' program.....and I feel 100% different. Nothing has changed in my life....all those mundane tasks still await me, but my attitude has been given a huge adjustment and focus and my spirit has been refreshed and I've been reminded of my Purpose in give glory to my Creator in everything I do. What purpose that gives me!! matter what mundane task I  do, I can confidently accomplish it knowing this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing at this point in my life. And that feels amazing. I am back in the game of life....excited and raring to go! Thanks God!
Romans 12:1, 11-13
"....offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.....Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer...."
I'm a sucker for sunsets.
I love the colours of the sun going down,
the beauty it brings and the promise it leaves
....the promise of a clean slate, a fresh start, a new day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm leaving on a jet plane......

Well, we are here in Nampa, Idaho (yes.... potato central) for about 1 month while Phil spends most of his days in a plane, flying/landing/taking-off in all sorts of conditions and terrain in order to prepare him for the diversity he'll experience as a pilot in Chad, Africa. Kailtyn, Lily and myself are here to support Phil as he trains......we get to have a lot of fun, relax, meet new friends, soak up the sun and explore the city of Nampa. So far we've hit up the beyond massive WALMART (seriously, that store is a city in itself!!), and made our way across town to a dollar store to purchase some craft supplies.....all of which we would have never found had it not been for our trusty GPS. (okay, so phil would have found them.....but I would still be driving around if it weren't for the GPS!!!!)
The place we are staying in is super nice, comfortable and just the right size for our little family of 4. Our front door opens up into the sandpit/playground which is a dream come true for the girls....and there are a bunch of kids living here as well so instant friends!! 
I think we will enjoy our time here....on the menu for tomorrow is visiting the local library for a story time.....and if the weather is as good as today.....we'll hunt for a park with swings for sweet Lily who would live/eat/sleep on a swing if she had the chance too! :)
There are two other families with 3 kids each, and both are missionaries in the Congo.....we look forward to getting to know them a bit better during our stay here.

Here are a few pictures from Phil's point of view documenting our way down to Nampa.....oh and ps if you are wondering why i am looking less than impressed in every is because I was feeling so sick (coughing up a lung!!) and just wishing to be in my bed sleeping.....but I survived and made it here and now I am feeling a whole lot better!

** the pictures work sometimes, but not other times....argh!! sorry if you can't see the pics.....I'll try to get phil to look at it and fix it!!**

6am: Bright and early breakfast – hot waffles, omelettes, yogurt and fruit loops for Kaitlyn! 
7am: The girls loved the “big bus” shuttle and the fact that they didn’t have car seats for the short trip across to the airport.
So much to see. Shrieks of delight at 7:30am every time another plane…did anything. Other passengers already hoping our row numbers are far apart!
Kaitlyn ready to “go fast”.
Merilee…grinning and bearing it…haha. She was more prepared than the stewards. Made for a very smooth flight. The atlantic crossing is starting to look doable…perhaps enjoyable?
Handy colouring pages. These all in one colouring kits deserve a medal. They shone today!
Many books...
…and you can get a good 20 minutes out of the doomsday card if you spin the story right. Lily kept wanting me to tell the part about the baby’s life jacket and wondering where the Mommy was in the pictures. The built in slides were compelling as was the fact that you can float on your seat cushion. I’d love to know what’s going through their heads when I’m explaining these “cartoons” to them and end it with…but that probably won’t happen.
End of flight #1. Detroit to Denver. The crowning moment: meeting the pilots and seeing the cockpit…the girls enjoyed it too. That one was 3.5 hours.
The next flight was only 2 hours from push back to touch down…Franklin’s turn to baby sit.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

February in Review

Another month has flown by, and I must admit, I did not take as many pictures as I should have. It is amazing how 29 days can go by and I wonder what we did? Besides Valentines Day, and Phil being away for a week at the end, the days just flew by without too much excitement. We have enjoyed a lot of park time as there has not been a lot of snow or severely cold temperatures (nope...don't miss Alberta winters at all!!), and Kaitlyn also finished her swimming lessons. Lily and Kaitlyn spend a lot of time playing with each other, and get along for the most part.....At any given time, at least one of the girls will be wearing a) a Princess Dress, b) a swimsuit, c) nothing!! :) I'm so glad they have each other for this stage of our lives, with travelling often, they don't have the kind of friends they had in Three Hills to play with.  Homeschooling is going well now that we have our schedule set and I have a better idea of what I am sopposed to be teaching Kaitlyn. We are over halfway through the alphabet, and Kaitlyn has been reading 2 words (ie: Bat) that I write out for her each day on her own (sounding them out) which is a good start. I wonder when she will be able to read her first book to herself?!
Here's a snapshot of what we did in February:

Making Heart-shaped Cupcakes for Valentines Day

Place a marble in the muffin tin for a heart shaped cupcake!
Practising her letters

Lily painting her wooden monkey notebook

Kaitlyn LOVES arts and crafts!

Making "boo-tiful" cupcakes :)

Valentines Day Sweetness

Tea Party!

My sweet Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn was so excited about her mask,
but quickly realized she needed a cape to complete the look!

Wedding # is a daily occurrence in our house! 

This time they managed to recruit a Prince.....

Face Painting Fun

Do you see any similarities? 

Kaitlyn had to be a cat too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Week 3 - Veggie Lasagna

I was in the mood for some comfort I thought let's make pasta!!! But keeping health in mind I wanted to avoid the fatty cheese/sauces and get my vegetable intake in, so I went on the hunt for a scrumptious veggie lasagna.....and I found it!! This one made enough for 3 meals for a family of 4, so put the work in now, and freeze 2 extra meals for those nights you don't feel like cooking.
So here it is folks, your meal idea for tonight:

Adventures in the Kitchen: Week 3

Less-On-Ya Lasagna
Prep: 25 min    Serves: 10-12  
Not my picture (forgot to take one again!)
but isn't your mouth watering right now? :)

3 Cups sliced mushrooms
2 Medium Zucchini's unpeeled and chopped
1 Yellow Pepper, chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Red onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Teaspoon each dried rosemary; dried oregano
1 Cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 Cup low-fat (1%) Cottage cheese
1/3 Cup Parsley
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg white
12 Lasagna noodles*
3 Cups Spaghetti Sauce
1 1/2 Cups part-skim Mozzarella Cheese shredded

1. Mix mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary and oregano together, place in roasting pan uncovered at 400 for 25 min, stirring at halfway point.

2. While veggies are roasting, a) cook pasta,  b) prepare cheese mixture: Combine 1/4 Cup parsley, Parmesan Cheese, Egg white, Ricotta Cheese, Cottage Cheese  and mix well, refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Assemble Lasagna: 9 x 13 inch baking dish (spray with non stick spray), spread 1/4 of the spaghetti sauce over bottom of pan. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread 1/2 cheese filling over noodles, followed by 1/3 roasted veggies. Sprinkle 1/3 Mozzarella cheese over top. Repeat layering. Layer final 4 noodles over mozzarella, followed by remaining spaghetti sauce. Top sauce with remaining roasted veggies.

4. Cover with foil and bake @ 375 for 35 minutes.
* (If using oven ready noodles, change baking time to 1 hour)

5. Remove Lasagna from oven, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parsley, return to oven uncovered, for 5 minutes.

6. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  (Important to follow this last step as it helps the lasagna stick together and absorb juices)

So, let's just say this was gobbled up in no time! Healthy veggies, comforting pasta/sauce combination and a scrumptious mix of low-fat cheeses are what made this meal a new favorite! The major bonus was that I was able to freeze 2 other dinners from this recipe......which made up for the work that I put into making this. All in all, a great dish but it takes some prep work to put it all together. 

~ Recipe taken from "Crazy plates" Cookbook by Janet & Greta Podleski ~