Saturday, November 27, 2010

Whilst she slept

Christmas preparation are in full swing in this household. Yesterday Amelia and I collected some juniper branches and then she went down for her nap I made a wreath out of them. I love how juniper smells and I plan to fill my house with it. Normally I gather a lot of cedar, but it doesn't grow here in the Chilcotin. I use the same metal frame to construct my wreaths year after year, and I always enjoy using different evergreens and materials. This year I punched out some felt stars using my sissix machine and used some ribbon from my stash.

I have always been baking up a frenzy the past couple of days. As I mentioned before, it is tradition in this household to nibble on goodies while decorating the tree, so I wanted to have a nice selection by December 1st. So far I have made about 60 butter tarts, a couple dozen thumbprint cookies and I am looking forward to making a couple different types of biscotti. This one is a must!

I'm also planning on making from chocolate dipped apricots and some kind of cheesecake brownie. Are you drooling yet? I am just thinking about it. Unfortunately my pregnant body has not been tolerating sugar very well these days. When I eat something as simple as a muffin I feel like rubbish.

I've been making stockings this year. Nathaniel had a horribly awful one that needed to be replaced and Amelia never got one last year. I LOVE stockings and I eagerly look forward to rifling through mine Christmas morning.

I also made some Christmas pillows for my bed from some fabric I picked up while in Abbotsford. The cool thing about this particular fabric is that it is made by one of my favorite scrap booking lines Basic Grey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best baby stuff (in my opinion)

I have been on a bit of a de-junking/organizing rampage the past couple of days and it feels really good. With another little one on the way I know that my home is going to be filling up with various baby paraphernalia and I want my space to be as clutter free as possible. When Amelia was born we borrowed a few things from friends but this time around I think we need to buy a few things from Craig's List. I don't like plastic contraptions, but a swing is a must. I suppose our hammock from Ecuador would do the job, but it takes up a great deal of space. When we were travelling overseas I often saw infants and toddlers napping in them. Awhile back I saw the neatest hanging baby bassinet called the kanoe. It was seriously overpriced, but a very neat concept.

This is my top 10 favorite list of baby related items. I used All of them extensively and look forward to using them again with baby #2.

1) Maya sling: This was a great investment and one that I couldn't live without. It also easily fit into my purse and was great for breastfeeding and doing errands. I used this with Amelia until she was nearly two.
2)Beco carrier: This was a great supportive backpack style carrier that I often used when hiking with Amelia. I loved it more than the traditional style metal frame backpacks because I cold easily roll it up and tuck it in my pocket when I was not using it.

3)Baby hawk Loved how easy this was to put on and take off without disrupting baby. I used it extensively when I travelled to Norway to visit my girlfriend. It was a lifesaver in the airport. It is is also SUPER cute! This is a picture of me in Norway after hiking up to a rock called "the alter". The view was STUNNING and well worth the hike.

The really cool thing was that my girlfriend also happened to have the same carrier. In this picture we were off to pick cherries on her property. Hmmm such good memories.

4)Chariot Stroller (the best running/biking stroller hands down)

5) A lovely muslin wrap byAden and Anais

6) Swing

7) Cloth diapers: I couldn't find the link but I love how Amelia is pointing one of her toes in this picture...... so darling and so chunky

8) Padraig booties

10)Moses Basket: Simple, light, easy to move around the house. I plan on buying the stand for it so I keep baby away from Amelia's curious fingers.

11) Ikea highchair: this is so light and easy to disassemble and throw into the back of our vehicle when we were going to a friends house for dinner. I also love how small and simple it is.

12) Nursing pillow. My dear sister made it for me and it has been the BEST. It was also great as a support for Amelia when she was learning how to sit up.

13) This plastic bib from Superstore. Seriously it is the only bib I use and the only one worth buying. It has a great trough on the bottom that catches all the food that misses her mouth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A great giveaway

In blog world there are often great give aways, and when I spot one that appeals to me I ALWAYS post a comment in hopes that I will win. I have not won anything yet, but I keep trying.

There is a really great giveaway over at a website called the picky palate for a 250$ gift card to best buy. I entered because I would love to purchase an all in one photo printer. Check out this link if you want to enter as well: 250$ best buy card

That is all for now :0)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something cute

I was feeling a little creative/scrappy today so put this together while Amelia was napping. I am also working on a little butterfly scrapbook with the same paper by crate paper, one of my new favorite lines, but it is not finished yet.

I like how it looks in this frame....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Views on feminism, motherhood and marriage.

I read this interesting article online today today and it really made me think about the negatives aspects of feminism. I have been a self proclaimed feminist for many years, but as I have grown in wisdom and maturity, many of my perspectives on certain issues have changed. I initially became a feminist because of my anger towards my father and men in general. Later, in University I minored in women studies and truly became aware of the plight of women worldwide. My eyes were opened to the many inequalities that still exists on our society and the prevailing view of women as objects. My faith was challenged, tested and assailed over the course of those two years but it also became deeper, more personal and precious to me. During that time I really struggled with my identity as a Christian woman, particularly how God viewed me. I needed to know that I was just as precious and valuable to him as any man and that my gender didn't change that.

Some people may find it strange that I claim to be a Christan as well as a feminist. I am passionate advocating for women's rights and improving their situation, but I do not
embrace all aspects and philosophies of feminism. After having worked in a battered women's shelter for many years, I am all too aware of the gender inequalities that exist even in our own backyard. I am also aware of the fact that feminism have done a great injustice to men by demeaning them and portraying them and useless fools. The movement has many faults, but I also think that it has done a lot of good.

Feminist literature still fascinates me and I am really looking forward to reading a book called "Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism's Work Is Done" by Susan J. Douglas. I think the title speaks for itself, but I included a link if you want to check it out.

Concerning motherhood, I have spent a great deal of my life viewing it as drudgery and unfulfilling. I grew up with an amazing mother but I often felt she was taken advantage of and not heard. As a young adult I avoided pregnant women and felt sorry for mother's with snotty nosed, wining children in tow. I even considered never having children so that I would be free to do whatever I wanted.

Then, somehow, the Lord began to gently change my heart towards motherhood and started to heal the parts of me that railed against it. I started to work with women and children in various capacities.... as a nanny, a community worker, a social worker and a mother goose facilitator. I began to view it as a precious gift rather than an infirmity and I began to watch mother's more closely. I couldn't help but realize how valuable motherhood is and how it shapes our communities and our nation.

Where marriage and gender are concerned I think this young mother of six had something very poignant to say.

"On the one hand, sometimes I think emotional intimacy and authentic relationship are sacrificed on the altar of complementarianism. Women concede to whatever their husbands decide, all in the name of being obedient to God, instead of committing to the difficult but ultimately worthwhile task of working through conflict, striving for unity, and agreeing not to give up until a mutually beneficial solution is found. How can iron sharpen iron when it's nothing but a one-way street?

On the other hand, I do think God gave women and men somewhat distinct roles within marriage--this seems to be evident from a biological/natural law standpoint alone. So I get that. I'm an at-home mom and we wouldn't have it any other way. It's not oppressive, it's amazing. I'm participating in God's calling for my life and it's nothing short of a miracle. In short, motherhood rocks. :) Does this make me un-egalitarian? I don't know."

I really like what she had to say on that topic. Enough said.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A long post

I am seriously overdue for a post. I have been having too much fun gallivanting around the lower mainland, decorating for Christmas and organizing my cupboards (yes, I really enjoy bringing order to chaos). But now here I sit, reminiscing about all the good memories I have made over this past week. I took a lot of awful pictures and I am a little embarrassed to share them with you. I am still figuring out my husband's little camera. It seems to work well outdoors where there is good lighting, but indoors the pictures look very blurry and pixilated. Any suggestions. Perhaps it is time for me to take a photography course.

After a seven hour drive to Maple Ridge, Amelia and I spent the week catching up with as many people as we could fit into our schedule. In between naps, eating out, swimming and socializing we did a decent amount of shopping.

Amelia particularity enjoyed value village where she happily tried on purses and shoes for the better part of 30 minutes.

We went swimming with Oma...

The weather in the lower mainland wasn't terribly wonderful but I did manage to go for a few walks, a run and take Amelia to my favorite park.

I had a delightful visit with a family I used to work for. Here are a few snapshots...

My mom, sister, Amelia and I went out to one of our favorite cupcake/tea shops in Abotsford and had a lovely lunch together. I am looking forward to making a little scrapbook of that special little outing.

And this would be a picture of my daughter having a meltdown......

Much to my delight, I was great deal of time with my dear friend Cristina. We ate butter chicken, cheesecake, drank excessive amounts of tea, watched the movie "morning glory" in the theatres, scrap booked, and shopped. She also got to accompany me to my ultrasound which was a first for her. She could hardly believe that the baby on the screen was small enough to fit into a toilet paper tube. I will post some pictures from that ultrasound at another time.

I also got to spend time with another dear friend of my mine..... Loretta. We drank peppermint tea, visted her chickens, enjoyed an impromptu mandolin performance from her husband Micheal, ate a lovely meal, and ...... just enjoyed each other's company.
Visiting her home is always such a blessing. Here are a few pictures and a video.

One of these days I am going to have to do an entire post on Loretta. She is amazing!

It was such a blessing to be surrounded by familiar faces and spend time with my family. How I miss close companionship, and the ease with which I could chat away the hours. One of my favorite memories from that week was a three hour marathon conversation at Starbucks with a girlfriend I hadn't seen in over a year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembering our first home.....

I am looking forward to buying a home again in the future. I have to admit that I have already started prowling for listings in various communities we "could" be posted to. As I navigate the world of real estate and mortgages I can't help but remember our first "home" together. We bought at a great time, lived in it for two years, and then sold it at a fantastic profit. We put in some amazing hardwood floors, updated the kitchen appliances, painted the entire house, built a deck and installed a stone patio.

I doubt that we will be doing many improvements on our next home as we will have two little ones, but we would like to buy a fixer upper at some point. I love to envision a home's potential.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Excited about Christmas

I am REALLY excited about the Christmas season this year for a few different reasons......

I haven't been able to use my Christmas decorations since Nathaniel and I sold our home and put everything in storage. We traveled for a year overseas and then moved into my parents home while we were waiting for Nathaniel's acceptance into the RCMP. After we had our daughter and Nathaniel completed 6 months of depot training we were excited to finally have our own home again. We moved to Alexis Creek just before Christmas last year and had to stay in someone elses home until our home was ready for us in January. I had hoped to use at least a few of our decorations, but we didn't have a clue as to where to even begin looking for them. A charlie brown Christmas tree from the bush and some blue lights were all that we were able to rustle up.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE decorating the Christmas tree and over the years I have accumulated some lovely ornaments, many of which I have not yet been able to use. Growing up as a child and even as a teenager I had fond memories of our family's traditions. When we decorated the tree we would play Amy Grant's "A Christmas Album" on our record player and then later on iTunes, and my mom would lay out plates of Christmas cookies, garlic sausage, cheese, pickles, crackers, and tea. We would take our time, oohing and cooing over our favorite ornaments, nibbling on yummy treats and dodging the video camera my father seemed to have permanently affixed to his shoulder. My sister and brother would often haphazardly place the ornaments, and I would usually trail behind them and re position them where I thought they looked best. I acquired the name "tree Nazi" for a good reason.

Another one of my favorite family traditions is decorating gingerbread men and a gingerbread house. I loved all the bowls of colorful candy, and sneaking a piece here and there. I did make a gingerbread house last year, and forced my poor husband into decorating it with me after we put Amelia to bed. (He doesn't get nearly as excited about Christmas activities as I do but I am convinced that he will eventually). I forgot to buy candy that particular year so I used some of my baking supplies.

On Christmas Eve we always had an oil and chocolate fondue. Oh how I LOVE this tradition. We sit around, slowing cooking our food and chatting away the evening. The women always finish first and then move to the living room to chat by the tree while the boys rejoice about the fact that they now have more fondue sticks with which to cook with. This year it will be a quiet fondue.... perhaps we will have to invite another couple over.

Christmas morning, after we had opened our much anticipated stockings, we would have a big breakfast complete with waffles, whipped cream, fresh fruit, sausages, hash browns, eggs and orange juice. Once we were satisfied we would begin opening our presents one by one. We always went from youngest to oldest, and I didn't mind because it made Christmas morning last longer.

In recent years, or at least since Nathaniel and I have been married I have started a few new traditions....

1. Visiting the Bay with Christina to take in their delightful floor filled with sumptuous trees and decorations in every color.. The first time we stumbled upon it we both audibly sighed and wandered around with childlike fascination.

2. Baking new things. I find particular joy in sitting down with my favorite Christmas cookie magazines and perusing them for new recipes to try. Nathaniel always requests my butter tarts and I can't help but make my favorite, which are thumbprints, but I always try something new. I haven't quite decided what I am going to make this year but I certainly have a long list of options.