Archive for November, 2010

New Beginnings…

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

In case you missed my final photo on my 365 Project, here’s the big news:

We are having another baby!

As big as a lime, our little one is growing like crazy. I’m eleven weeks pregnant, green in the gills, and thanking Jesus for the sweet mercy of Diclectin as I wait for the nauseous first trimester to end. I had my first visit with my midwife last week, which was wonderful. Now that the news is public I know the coming weeks are going to fly by…when you’re not showing it feels like forever, and then once that bump pops it’s a fast ride to the end.

We are so excited that the Lord would choose to bless us with another child, and look forward to being a family of 6! We can still fit in our van. That’s a very good thing.

Drumroll please…

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Dana, you won! Now we have another excuse to get together, so I can give you your prize :)
For those of you who don’t know Dana, let me tell you about this amazing woman and friend. First of all, lest you be saying her name incorrectly in your head, it’s pronounced like Diana without the i, not “Dayna”. I first got to know Dana at a youth retreat when I was in grade 7, she in grade 9. I heard her and her best friend Dana (Dayna) trying to get the boys to figure out how to pronounce their names correctly with the above explanation. I don’t know if they got it, but it obviously made sense to me if I remember it 14 years later. Dana amazed me with her coolness when we all were painting our nails in the cabin one evening. She came prepared, with Q-Tips to dip in nail polish remover to clean up the polish that accidentally got on skin beside the nail. Brilliant! Here was a girl I could look up to for wisdom :)

It is funny how two years can make someone seem so much older when you are young, but over the years Dana has become a close friend. We have shared major life experiences during similar times, which I think has drawn us together a lot. She and her husband were married a year before Clay and I. They had a really short engagement, and Dana, I remember being so impressed by your sureness and commitment. You guys knew what you wanted, and you went for it. I love that. Being some of the first in our circle of friends to get married, it was nice to know we were not the only crazy ones getting married young. It was also nice to know we weren’t the only crazy ones having babies young! Markus and Dana’s oldest son are only five months apart in age, and her daughter and Bailey are one month apart! Our kids get along so well, and it’s always a joy to get together for coffee. We share a lot of similar interests, so it’s always fun to chat about cooking, being green, how to raise our kids, and how to love Jesus without getting jaded by the crazies.

The thing I admire most about Dana is her strength. Dana, I’ve always seen you as a woman who knows who she is and what she believes. When you lost her dad unexpectedly last year, my heart absolutely broke for you and your family to have to walk such a difficult road. I know it has been more difficult than I could imagine, but through it all I have seen you, through the grace of Jesus, to be strong in your weakness. Your honesty was an immense encouragement to me as I sat by, not knowing what to say or do. The Lord is doing a good work in you, and I am blessed to be your friend and learn from you.

Lazy Day Stock

Friday, November 26th, 2010

I never thought I’d find myself at age 26, getting excited about chicken stock. But here I am, 26, and I’m excited about chicken stock. There is something a little thrilling about making something nutritious out of nearly nothing. Here’s what you need. Chicken bones, veggie cast-offs, water, and vinegar. That’s it.

But if you’re like me a few years ago, you’re thinking, “Right, where am I going to get chicken bones? They don’t have those in the boneless skinless chicken breast box. That’s why I buy them. Because they don’t resemble an actual animal.” Believe me, I get it. The closest I used to get to buying meat with bones was chicken drumsticks. I still have a long way to go, I’ve never butchered a chicken and I’m not sure I could yet, but I can deal with a raw, headless one just fine now. I think it’s important to know where your food comes from. If you’re squeamish about that white meat having once been a furry chick, what in the world are you doing putting it in your mouth? That said, God gave us dominion over the earth and gave us animals to be used for food. Thank you Lord, I really do like meat.

So if I never bought chicken with meat, how did I get bones to make stock? It’s called a sale, and I’m a sucker for one. Sobeys had this BOGO deal on last year that was like, “Buy one package of chicken breasts with the back attached, get one free.” It was cheaper than buying them without the bones, so I figured I could be adventurous and try. I froze them and would pull them out as I needed, taking the breasts off and either using the bones up right away, or freezing them for later. Or just take the scraps from your cooked deli chicken and use those. When you’re feeling really adventurous, buy yourself a raw chicken and roast it yourself. Yum!

Now, what do I mean by veggie cast-offs? You know when you’re cutting carrots and you cut the stem end off and throw it in the garbage or compost? Save it. Celery leaves and ends? Save them. Onion skins? Save them. I got this tip from my sister Sherry, and it is golden. I keep a ziploc bag in the freezer, and anytime I have any veggie bits that would be good for flavouring stock, I throw them in the bag. When I’ve got a bag full of veg that would have normally just ended up as waste, and I’ve got chicken bones, I throw them into a pot, cover them with water, add a generous 1/4 cup of vinegar (it helps draw all the nutrients out of your chicken bones), and let it simmer on the stove all afternoon.

Voila! You’ve got stock for soup. Make soup that evening, or freeze it for later. Freeze it in ice cube trays for making sauces, freeze them in small bags with the equivalent of a can of stock, or freeze it in a big bag to make a big pot of soup with later.

I love hints and tips about frugal living. What are some things you do to make the food budget stretch a little farther?

Someone’s going to smell YUMMY…..

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Update: November 26 – I’m going to leave this up for a few more days, so if you haven’t entered already, hop to it!
Here we are. Seven years of blogging, and 300 posts later. Please, if you look back at the early years of this blog, take what you read with a grain of salt. After all, when I started blogging I was 19, and highly disillusioned about a lot of things. My theology was whack at times, which I suppose would make for some good blogging fodder at a later date…maybe. What a road I’ve been walking, from a postmodern relativist to a (trying to be) missional calvinist. The Lord is good to me, and I praise Jesus for saving me.

Well friends, it’s time for me to share some love and give something away! I always get excited when bloggers give stuff away. Usually it’s the big name blogs, who get sponsored giveaways. This giveaway is on little old my blog, sponsored by little old me, but don’t be fooled – it’s going to be AWESOME!

What woman doesn’t love getting her feet pampered? I have yet to meet her.

So ladies, I’m giving this lovely pedicure set to one of you! In it you will find: glass stones and coconut oil for soaking your feet in a big tub of water, a homemade foot scrub, a foot file for scrubbing away all the rough skin, a bottle of No Miss Almost Natural Nail Polish Remover, and a bottle of nail polish – I’ve got two shades for you to choose from.

And those colours are: No Miss Ruskin Raspberry, or Suncoat Tangerine. The polish and polish remover are the experimental part of my gift to you, as I have not tried the No Miss stuff. I am using a different shade of Suncoat polish as this post is written…of course I am giving myself a pedicure. I have to make sure what I am giving away is good!

The star of the show is the homemade scrub. I’m sure we’ve all used products that we thought smelled good enough to eat, but would never dream of actually putting it in our mouth. This one, you can. I won’t judge you if you grab a spoon to have a snack while your feet soak. It’s made of coconut oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It smells (and tastes) divine.

So what do you need to do to enter? Leave a comment, but you have to make it more interesting than “Oh! Enter me!” It could be anything from your favourite colour to paint your nails and why, to why you like to read my blog – are there topics I write about that interest you, are there things you’d like to hear me talk more about? I make no promises, but suggestions are nice :) As an aside, if you don’t like reading my blog, don’t leave a comment…I digress… You could talk about why you like to blog, your favourite flower or something else random and interesting about you, or a favourite scripture passage that has encouraged you recently. Basically, anything but, “Oh! Enter me!”

Contest closes when I think a sufficient amount of people have entered. I don’t know how often people check back here since my writing is so sporadic, so when I think there’s been sufficient traffic on this post I’ll draw someone’s name out of a hat. I’m high-tech like that.

Smell like a million bucks.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Product roundup time. A while back I was talking about all the stinky junk that’s sitting on the store shelves, and not in my house. So what’s in my house? I’m glad you asked! This will be a series of two posts, today’s focusing on personal care items, and the next installment will be about other around-the-house stuff. So here’s the play-by-play.

Shampoo: I haven’t used shampoo and conditioner to clean my hair for over a year. It was just such a battle to find a product I could use that not only wouldn’t give me a headache, but also wouldn’t bother Clay – we seem to have different sensitivities to smells. On top of that, shampoo just gets darn expensive. To wash, I now use a baking soda and water solution, and for conditioner I use an apple cider vinegar and water solution. (Get the low-down here) My hair is so healthy, and so manageable. I don’t even need to use styling junk anymore. Although, sometimes I do use a touch of coconut oil to smooth out the few crazy hairs on top. Go easy on the oil, it will make you look greasy fast.
Clay, while very supportive of the things I do around here, isn’t really interested in going this route. He’s been using this Nature Clean Unscented stuff. We use this on the kids as well.

Hand soap: For a long time, we used our shampoo as hand soap as well. Then we found Kiss My Face fragrance free moisture soap, and it has replaced the shampoo in the soap pump. No parabens, (plastic-softening, hormone-disrupting chemicals) or sodium lauryl sulphate (makes things sudsy, but is also really drying on your skin). It’s really nice soap, and (say it with me now) doesn’t stink!

Lotion: I should have one more item pictured in this photo, but I’m not in the mood for a re-do. As far as mainstream lotion goes, we use Aveeno. Don’t spend more on the baby version – it’s the same as the regular one pictured here! Recently I started using coconut oil as a moisturizer, and while it does take a little more time to soak in, it works really well. I like that it’s one ingredient that I can pronounce, and it’s something you can (and should!) eat, so I feel good about it soaking into my body. Another thing we use around here is shea butter, which is amazing, though it can get pretty pricey if you don’t have a sister who brings it straight from Africa for you :)


Deodorant: I don’t even remember how long I’ve been doing this, probably about 9 months. I make my own deodorant out of coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch. It is honestly the absolute best deodorant I have ever used. No chemical laden antiperspirant can compare with how this homemade stuff works! I first read about it here, which gives a great explanation about the ‘why’, and the ‘how’ (recipe) is here. I used to keep it in an old deodorant tube, but it really is easier just to put a little on your fingers. Once a day. No stink. Even in summer. Seriously.

Facial Cleanser: Sorry, no photo for this. I wash my face with oil. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? You can read all about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) here. It really works. My skin is so happy when I give it a little love.

So there you have it, a nutshell of what goes on my skin. I love being able to find a lot of the ingredients I need for getting clean in my kitchen. I feel so much better about putting stuff on my body that I know is safe to go in my body. I’m no expert, but hopefully the links I provided shed some light, and if you have questions please ask, I like talking about this stuff :)
Hey, does anyone have some insight on toothpaste for me? Most of the ‘natural’ toothpastes are flouride free – what’s so bad about fluoride? I know I could find out if I just looked for info, but if someone out there can inform me, then that’s easier.

And stay tuned for my giveaway coming up! My next post will be my 300th, and I’m gearing up to give away something fun in honour of the occasion :)