Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Colour Wonder Finger Painting

Yesterday's project was Finger Painting.

With 3 small boys I have come to love Colour Wonder products.  We have had several different marker sets.  The boys like them and I love that there is no marker left on the furniture, clothing or on the boys. 
 I had never tried the finger paints before, but yesterday we decided to give them a try.
These were the products we were using.

  The two younger boys had the hands with the finger pots.  Isaac called it "finger dip".  Gabe used the strip of colours.  After using them for awhile it became clear that the newer strip version was the cleaner option. 

The colour wonder stuff in the finger pots is like a goopy gel.  The strip version is a little more solid and easier to control the amount you are using.  Isaac didn't quite get the "you only need a little at a time" part, but he had fun anyway.

Here are the boys and what they made.
This painting was Gabe saying I love you Mom:)
(very sweet)

Zach loves to do rainbows.

These are Isaac's paintings. 

We tried to get a picture with him smiling, but this was as close as we came.

I wish you could see his pictures better.  He had so much colour wonder goop on them in places it  has dried and gives a glossy dimension to parts of the painting.

All in all it was a fun project and we will certainly use them again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Break Goals

Welcome to March Break!

It is Monday of March Break 2012 and I have some goals.
Stay sane!
Survive the week with minimal injuries.
Have FUN!!

I think those are some pretty good goals.  With 3 boys sanity can be a very elusive thing and on the other side of the coin, injuries can be all too frequent. 
 But, I am up for the challenge.

Today we enjoyed our Honeycombs breakfast together,  followed up with some yogurt...cause one bowl of cereal is never enough.
After a little tv and play time we have ventured into finger painting.
Thank God for Colour Wonder!
I will post pics of their artwork later.

It's raining outside so there won't be any park visits or walks today, but we have plenty of days this week to hopefully get outside.
So what else will we be doing this week?
Some more crafts like crayon rubbings, and making some Truth Rocks.
Scavenger hunts.
Beach walks.
Park playing.
Movie watching.
More colour wonder.
Playing with the neighbour boys.
We also have guest coming on Thursday and Friday!!
Can't wait for my Mom, Aunt, and Older Sister to come Thursday morning and then buy Thursday afternoon my baby sister and her family are coming to stay for a day or two.  The boys are super excited to play with their cousins!

Well, its lunchtime here at the zoo!
I'll share more later in the week.
I hope you have a wonderful March Break Adventure with your family.
Please leave a comment and let me know the kinds of things you will be doing to keep your kids active and entertained this week.

Many Blessings :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kate - Pumpkin Dip Recipe

This is the EASIEST chip dip recipe ever, and it's SO good. People are always asking me for the recipe, and I like to make it sound really complicated but it's not at all! Serve warm with corn chips and wait for the compliments! This is not low G.I. but sometimes you have to splurge!
"Pumpkin Dip"

(No pumpkin in it, we always called it that because of the colour)
1 cup salsa
1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheese

Place salsa and cream cheese in a food processor, or mix with a blender or hand mixer.
Mix in shredded cheese.
Pour into pie plate and bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until it turns pumpkin coloured.

Ta-da! So good!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Let go

Did you have a plan for your life?  Did you know what you wanted to be, where you wanted to live, who you wanted to marry,  how many kids you were going to have?  Did you have it all planned out?  Do you still have your plan?  Are you willing to give up on that plan?

I am a person who craves stability, predictability and certainty.  I want to know that things are fine, they will go as planned and that they will stay that way.  I don't like surprises.  I don't like the unknown.  I hate uncertainty.

So what do you think my life has been?

Every day I see more and more that I am definitely NOT in control.    It is definitely NOT certain nor predictable.  By the Grace of God I am slowly learning to be okay with that.

I have always believed I was a Christian.  We went to church every Sunday, went Sunday school, sang in the choir, and participated in youth group and church events.  What I didn't realize is that even though I believed in Christ, I didn't KNOW Christ.  I didn't see Christ as someone who wanted to be in my life, and BE my life.  HE was a far away entity that had so much more important stuff to look after in the world that there was no way I really mattered.

By His Grace I am learning that I AM loved.  I AM wanted.  I AM worthy.
HE has a plan for my life.  However, He doesn't feel the need to share that plan with me.  Instead He just wants me to trust HIM. 
 I must admit that I find the trusting VERY hard.  Not because I don't think that He wants the best for me, but because I fear what He might ask me to do.  I fear what He might make me have to deal with that I don't want to or don't think I can.

Over the last few years we have had many things happen in our lives.  Gord was out of work for a year, we had our 3rd baby during that same year (which was a huge surprise!), we lost our vehicle, we lost our house, many times we had very little food, couldn't pay our bills, every day was a struggle. Our relationship with Christ was put through the ringer.  We cried out to Him, we were angry with Him, we questioned Him, we were grateful to Him  Anything you can feel, we felt. 

But God is Good. 
 We have learned so much and been so blessed during that time as well.  We had food provided for us many, many times, money came even from people we didn't even know.  We were given a vehicle, and so much more.  God used all of those things in our lives to bring us closer to Him.  It is still a journey of faith that we are on every day.  He has now had us move 2 hours away from any of our family and friends, but we feel that this is where He wants us at this moment.  We have no idea where God is taking us, but we know that if we continue to trust Him, He will work it out.

A few months back I made the comment that I am thankful that God has it all worked out cause I just don't see it.  A very good friend of my had this to say in reply.... IF you could see it YOU WOULD never CHOOSE it and you'd miss the mark He has set for you... She really made me think. 

God knows where He wants me to be.  He also knows that I don't think I am ready to be there.  So, He lovingly gives my GPS alternate directions.  Each step of the way I am learning, growing, and maturing.  Each step brings me into a closer relationship with my heavenly Papa.

This might not be how I thought my life would go, but I am grateful that God loves me enough to keep bringing me back to Him. 

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

KATE: The Latest Chapter in my Weight Loss Journey

I have struggled with my weight (and accompanying body-image problems) for probably my whole life. I imagine a lot of it comes from my Mom's similar struggle, combined with not eating well growing up. (I grew up in a single-parent home, and my Mom had to work SO hard to provide for my sisters and I). Either way, I was rarely comfortable in my own skin while growing up.

I was a typical University student and put on weight pretty steadily over the course of University and teachers' college. Mike and I got married while I was still finishing school, and I think being newlyweds combined with me being in school (and working three jobs) taught us a lot of bad habits. So although I made a few attempts at getting it under control, (joining a gym, trying to eat healthier etc.) nothing really seemed to work.

Then the baby happened! Oh my sweet little Thomas. I gained about 30 pounds while I was pregnant, which I considered not "too bad". But keep in mind that I wasn't starting from a particularly healthy place. My eating habits didn't change drastically, and I had only a few craving moments (I still tell Mike he got off easy! We'll see how he does with future babies!) things like cucumber, salami and red licorice. But not together.

When Thom came out weighing almost 9 pounds, I thought "Hey, almost a third of the baby weight, gone immediately!" and then after all was said and done I lost about 15 pounds by giving birth. So I figured, okay, halfway there! But I knew I had to do something, in order to feel better about myself, set a good example for my son, and just generally be healthier. I've also had problems with my liver in the past 3 years or so, and I thought maybe eating healthier and trying to be more active might help with my liver problems. So when a friend mentioned he was going to try a "Low G.I." diet, we thought nothing of it, until we saw a book with a similar title at my in-laws. Mike (who is SUPER skinny) thought maybe if we gave it a try, it would have the double benefit of us eating healthier, and he was hoping it would give him more energy. I think he forgot the part where we were new parents! No sleep=no energy. But we decided to "borrow" the book, and give it a try.

Basically the philosophy is that you eat good food that keeps you full for longer. G.I. is "glycemic index" which has something to do with how much sugar is in your food. I didn't really read the whole book, I must admit. But I read the important parts, and the recipes! I make a weekly meal plan and try to stick with the recipes and meals suggested in the book, but we do stray occasionally. Pizza is just so delicious. But a lot of smaller changes (I had to eat a bagel with peanut butter every morning for breakfast when I was pregnant. Somehow it settled my stomach) seemed to add up to bigger changes. I also started trying to get more active. I signed up for a "Mom & Baby" yoga class (which I love), going for walks with Thom and friends, and I've even tried Hot Yoga and a few Boot-camp classes (ow). I am beginning to understand how much my body needs to move, and how much better I feel afterwards.

Over the course of the past 7 months, I've lost around 65 pounds (since being 9+ months pregnant) and I'm finally starting to feel comfortable in my body. I'm not a "stick", and I never will be. My body has been through some crazy things in the past 10 years or so, but I know that I'm doing right by it. I can feel myself being more present, getting stronger and just being healthy. I used to get migraine headaches almost every day, and I can say I've had like one, maybe two since being pregnant. I'm actually excited for my annual appointment with my liver specialist doctor, because I'm curious if all my lifestyle changes have made a difference to my liver.

I am still learning to be comfortable with people commenting on my weight-loss, complimenting me and asking me my secret. I haven't figured out how to explain to people, some people really aren't comfortable with the "diet and exercise" as an explanation. A few people say something like "You must feel so much better!" which I never know how to respond to. I never really "felt" bad. I felt big, but I was super pregnant! And he was a big baby! And before that, I was just used to being big. I still had (and have!) a husband who loves me and supports me (and does most of the cooking! I'm so lucky.) no matter what I look like.

 I don't really know how to conclude this post! We are still following the diet, (Mike gets to eat 2X more food than I do, because I'm so paranoid about him losing weight he cant afford to lose) but we are less strict about it than we were at first. I would love to lose another 30 pounds or so, (my ultimate goal is to weigh less than Mike!) and 7 months ago I never would have thought that was possible. I was convinced I'd gain the baby weight permanently. But now I know that if I commit and stick to it, I can achieve it. Or at the very least I can try. My body may not want to go that far, but I'm okay with that. I currently weigh less than I did on my wedding day. I tried on my "going away" dress from our wedding, and it's too big. And this is almost 5 years (and 1 baby) later. I'm really proud of that accomplishment!

The only problem I've found with losing a lot of weight is that very few of my clothes fit anymore... and we can't exactly afford to buy me a whole new wardrobe! Maybe someday...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Introducing contributor JYLLIAN!!

It is time for another introduction!  Please welcome Jyllian to the Sisterhood!   I am blessed to have Jyllian as my baby sister.  I am sure you will enjoy sharing with her. 

Well I am new to this whole blogging thing...but I’ll try anything once!! ;)

Let me introduce myself…Jyllian Kuhnen! Nice to meet ya! ;) Well that sounded a bit like I was introducing myself to myself but I told you I was new to this!! Seriously though, my name is Jyllian and I am a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom living in Alliston, Ontario.  I grew up in Kitchener, Ontario (miss you K-town!) but moved up to Alliston about 7 years ago. I have been married to my husband Erik for 7 years and we have been blessed with 3 gorgeous girls who make every day a beautiful adventure! J I just celebrated my 38th birthday a few weeks ago (well, actually, I tried to sleep all day and just skip it but that didn’t work too well – lol) and find myself pondering a great many things these days…which I am sure you will read about in the coming weeks on this blog. ;) Triumphs, regrets, proud moments, blessings, desires, hopes, dreams, beliefs, fears….and that’s just on Mondays.  J

Things I love…

Erik – my Holland-born husband of almost 8 years. I am sure I take him for granted quite often, but he is the love of my life, a true friend, and I cannot imagine life without him.  And he puts up with my quirks (and trust me, I am definitely quirky!) and loves me anyway. ;)

Delaney – my gorgeous 13-year-old teenage daughter who amazes me every day with her insight and acceptance,  her poetic soul and artistic flair, her love and loyalty to her friends, and her tolerance of her sisters (lol – couldn’t resist – I was getting sappy!).  She makes me proud to be her mom and shows me what I want to be when I grow up.

Aubree – my beautiful, sensitive soul. Just 8 years old and going to change the world. Elite competitive gymnast, brilliant student, so creative and dramatic, always busy and wanting to do more, learn more, see more. She makes me wish I could bottle her energy and sell it – then I could afford all the things she wishes she could do. J Love her past the stars.

Piper – my little angel. I asked her to promise me that she would stay little forever – she said she had to grow up, but that she would cuddle me forever.  She’s my sunshine – my perfect little 5 year old cure for anything that is bringing me down. Full of giggles, stories and songs – makes me want to freeze time and savor these moments. Love her to the moon.

Basketball – yep – a TOTAL basketball fanatic. Started when I was young and just got worse as the years passed. Played, watched, coached, earned scholarship, blew out knee, lost scholarship – such is life! Go Raptors! Go DUKE!

My friends and family  - I am truly, truly blessed to have such wonderful amazing people in my life. My family has always been there for me and I have some absolutely amazing friends –some new, some old, ALL amazing!!

My job – I am a Team Leader with JOCKEY Person 2 Person and I am absolutely loving it!! In one fell swoop I found a business, a purpose and a family that has been the perfect fit for me! LOVE my job! ;)

I could go on forever but maybe I’ll save some for another day…


Be my Valentine.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  I must admit that after 20 years together my husband and I don't make that big a deal about it.  We do make sure that we wish each other a Happy Valentine's Day, and sometimes there are cards or small treats, but that is about it.  This year one of the young girls of our church had made some wonderful chocolate to sell.  We couldn't decide on which of the four flavours to choose so we picked up a package of each.  She had them tied with a lovely red bow.  Very cute and yummy too.  That was what we gave to each other.  I know that they are more for me than him though. 

 I hope that I let my hubby know all year long how much I love him and that he means the world to me, and even though I don't think a big deal needs to be made of Valentine's Day it is still nice to hear that I am still his Valentine.  He is certainly still mine.

Having two of our boys in school we participate in the ritual of giving Valentines to their friends.  We chose The Superhero Squad and CARS valentines this year and added some Rockets candies to them after the boys had written all of the names on them.  It makes the boys happy to be able to give things out to their classes and I like that the teachers make sure to send a list of the student's names home so that no one is left out.  I remember worrying when I was young that I wouldn't get any valentines.  Everyone wants to be liked and they will have enough disappointment in their lives as they get older, at this age Valentine's day should be fun.

The boys were quite excited to show me all of their Valentines when they arrived home from school.  They received valentines, some chocolate,  suckers as well as a bookmark and pencils.  To top it all off they received a package in the mail from their Grandparents with a card and some treats in it.  All in all they enjoyed their Valentine's day and will have treats to last them for the next couple of weeks.  Thankfully my kids are content with only having a single treat each day.  It makes the treats last longer and saves their bellies :)

So how do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Is it important to you?  Do you make a special dinner or pick out a special gift?  Do you ignore the commercial ritual all together or make a big deal of it?  Whatever you do, I hope that February 14th was a sweet day for you, and that you will have many more sweet days ahead of you.