Friday, February 25, 2011

Giveaway over at Diving Into the Waves...

Who needs a beautiful necklace for Mother's Day?

Well you can enter to win one at my friend Ali's blog:  Diving Into the Waves

Ali is a phenom-mom of 3 and if anyone needs this awesome necklace, it's her :)  However, she's graciously giving this one away:

Head over to Diving into the Waves and follow the instructions :)

If you do go there, let me know, because I get an entry for every person who enters because of my sharing this info!

Five Minute Friday: Five Years Ago

Five Minute Friday Prompt: Five Years Ago

February 25, 2011
On Fridays around these parts we have a little tradition. We throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write.
For five minutes flat.
You’re welcome to play along. The rules are easy.
1. Write your heart out for five minutes and then show us what you’ve got.
2. Tell your readers you’re linking up here and invite them to play along.
3. And most importantly, go visit, read, and encourage the fellow five-minuter who linked up right before you.

From Lisa-Jo's blog

Five years ago


Five years ago I probably looked a lot like Lisa-Jo does today.  At least in the belly area!  I was pregnant with my first child who was due on March 30th, 2006.  I was in the home stretch, with stretch marks to prove it!

I didn't know that it was Super-Beautiful there inside of me.  We had decided that we wanted to be surprised.  Everyone, including my mom and Super-Awesome's mom, had us so convinced that it was a boy, that we asked the doctor to repeat herself when she announced that it was a girl.

I remember sleeping, or not sleeping, with lots of pillows around, under, and on top of me.  Super-Awesome also remembers those times of pillows, with a little less fondness than I did :)

I remember working out at Curves right up til the day before I delivered!  I remember that we had special gospel meetings at church and joked with the preacher Monday night that if we weren't back, we had a good reason.   We missed the rest of the week because Super-Beautiful was born on Tuesday morning, March 21, 2006.


There's the belly!

In the neutral Velveteen Rabbit themed-nursery, February 5, 2006.

Working out at Curves on March 20, 2006.  Can't really see the belly because of the flowy shirt, but it was there, trust me :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Friendship

Thanks to Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for the prompt again this week.

"On Fridays around here we stop, drop and write for five minutes straight.
No editing, no back-tracking, no pauses. Just words. This week, let’s focus on friendship."



Friendship is a true gift.  Often you don't realize you have it until you lose it, or at least move very far away from it.

Thankfully, phone lines cross distances, as do e-mails and  regular old mail.  But sometimes it just isn't the same.  Friendship takes time, so it shouldn't surprise me that I don't have the same depth of friendship with my new friends here that I do with my "old" friends back in Kingston.

I am so thankful for the friends that I have begun to know here.  I am so thankful for the friends that I still have back home.

I look forward to monthly movie night on Tuesday where we can snack, drink tea, chat, and maybe not even get to see the whole movie because we're having so much fun.  I sometimes want to lure them in under false pretenses of movie, just to sit and chat and get to know them better...  maybe this week, or maybe next time. 

Thank you God for all of my friends.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My love/hate relationship with coupons...

I love coupons one minute and I hate them the next.

Yep.  It's true.

I love the money that coupons paired with a sweet sale can save me.  I've even posted photos of the great deals I've gotten in the past.  I love the blogosphere of couponing mavens who help me to find the best deals and match-ups.

I hate the "stress" that couponing brings with it. 
Today is the perfect case in point.
I discovered today, not yesterday, not Sunday, but today that Super Doubles were starting at Harris Teeter.  And guess what... they were starting TODAY.
No big deal you say.  But to a die-hard couponer (oh, yes, this is a verb now), this is a very BIG deal. 

Super Doubles at HT is the gold mine for coupon clippers in the South.  You can, if you plan very well, and have all the appropriate coupons stockpiled for the last few months, go into the grocery store and buy 20 items a day for the seven days the event runs and get many things free or for under a dollar each.  Obviously, not everything I need or buy falls into that free or almost free category, but you can still save a whack-load of money.  I've heard there are shows on TLC now about Extreme Couponing, and while I haven't seen them, I believe it.  If you go into HT during this event, you'll see other people with binders, folders, accordion files, and all other manner of coupons sorting systems. 

And when I'm "ready" for it, I'm a huge fan of Super Doubles.... it just happens that this week I'm so not ready for it.  We've been battling colds for what feels like forever.  So a mom who's tired from being sick, taking care of sick kids, has very little desire to go into a store with her just-recovered-and-still-pretty-whiny-even-though-I-love-them-to-bits children, wander up and down the aisles looking for the right size of the right variety of Cheerios, that are on sale and that match the coupon I have, if it's still in stock, because I didn't get there before 10am today. 

There's just this guilt... it must be a variation on the usual mommy-guilt that we all seem to have.  If I don't use coupons, especially now that I have learned to work the system, with all the help of those smart coupon ladies, I feel guilty!  If I go to the store and buy something, and I don't have a coupon.... I feel guilty.   If I let my coupon inserts pile up,  I feel guilty!  Why can't I just go grocery shopping anymore?  Why can't I just move back to Canada where they just don't have the same amount of crazy coupons?  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH

Obviously, my kids aren't the only post-sick whiny ones around....

A recap of V-Day in photos...

We went out to dinner on Saturday evening and I foolishly forgot to photograph our earlier courses, but take a look at these desserts, people!  This was the Valentine's Day special Godiva Chocolate mousse with berries in a chocolate shell.  I decided to order it at the same time as my appetizer, I was that convinced that I would still want it after the meal. Yum...

Super-Awesome chose (read: was coerced into choosing) this lovely "sorbeto".  Three flavors of Sorbet: passionfruit, mango & raspberry wrapped in a white chocolate shell!

With a side profile just to give you another view :)  You may or may not know that we are competitive diners.  That is we always get something different and try each other's dish (sometimes up to half of it) and generally rank who wins each course.  Super-Awesome definitely won the dessert course!  Those 3 fruity sorbets, that white chocolate, yum, yum, yum!
And for those who've been waiting with bated breath to find out if Super-Awesome liked his gift...  ever the man of mystery :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Language of Love

Ah, Valentine's Day...  second only to Christmas for number of cards bought for this occasion...

I received a beautiful one this morning.  With an even nicer message inside :)

I paced by the window all day waiting for Super-Awesome's gift from me to arrive via FedEx...  and then it came.  It is now wrapped and waiting for him, but I don't have a card...  but I do have a bunch of crafty stuff and I can make him an old fashioned Valentine.  He might even like that better...

You see, Super-Awesome and I speak different love languages according to Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages.  Although, I was sick and unable to attend our Parenting class at church last night the subject did come up and then in perusing Lisa-Jo's blog this morning I was reminded and even found a online assessment that you can take to figure out just what your love language is.

As any normal female would, I took the test twice, just to be sure...  and well the results didn't really surprise me.  The first time my two strongest languages were Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation.  The second time around I got Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Words of Affirmation.

Super-Awesome is definitely an Acts of Service kind of guy, with some Quality Time thrown in.  I'm going to have him take the assessment just to double check; but that is what we've discovered in the past.  So you might already see a problem... I ordered him a gift for Valentine's Day, but his love language is not Receiving Gifts...  Mine is...   We tend to show love in the way that we want to receive love, according to Gary Chapman's book.

I hope I've matured a little, though, because although this is a gift it also is designed for quality time.  (No, I'm not telling you what I got him! He could read this before getting home, you know, and then the wrapping would be obsolete!)

Rambling, must be the cold medicine!

It is Monday, so my Multitudes on Monday are going to feature my dear Super-Awesome:

115.  a sweet husband who brings me home chocolate well before Valentine's day
116. having a date night and learning another new thing about him even after almost 10 years
117. that he loves the children and me so very much
118. that he does laundry, dishes, and all manner of other helpful things for a wife who needs help
119. he keeps trying even though his immature wife (sometimes in the past) has scorned his thoughtful, meaningful gifts (silly wife)
120. he planned our romantic date night
121. he shares his food choices with me
122. he reads his Bible and prays every day and grows, grows, grows
123. he loves the Lord first, me second and the kids third, as it should be
124. he works hard to provide for his family
125. he works hard at home after he's worked hard at work
126. he's a good listener
127. he makes good decisions
128. he leads his family well
129. he has been locked in for almost 10 years now!
130. he's Super-Awesome, handsome, thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate, and don't forget manly!

Friday, February 11, 2011


I posted my additions to my One Thousand Gifts list on Monday morning and that's all I've written this week.  And I'm afraid what I write today will be a little rambly too...

I've just had a heavy heart with a lot of things going on and not all of them positive.  However, a meeting that Super-Awesome was attending last night, apart from being surreal, went better than most had expected.  That lifts some of the weight off my heart, but now Super Beautiful is suffering from a bit of a cold and is home from school today... so I see/hear a lot of videos in the near future.

I am so very proud and blessed to be married to Super-Awesome.  He is a man of convictions and strength and dignity.  He cares about others and puts others first.  He is a great father and a great husband and I am totally blessed and thankful to call him mine for the rest of our lives here on earth.

And who knows how long that will be?  I want to treasure each moment and live fully right where I am.  I've been going to the GriefShare program at a local church and while it has been a help to actively deal with the loss of my dad and the upcoming 1st anniversary of his death, it is also hard to actively deal with grief when you're used to just pushing it away and living your busy - with small children- life. 

So, like I said, rambly...  and more than five minutes, I'm sure, but there-- something is out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mulitudes on Monday

101. opening an envelope in which you expect a bill, only to find they've sent you a check for an overpayment
102.  receiving two letters from two sponsor children in two days
103. snuggles with hubby and kiddos on Saturday mornings
104. caring so much that a phone call can derail a day's activities
105. bulbs poking up through the ground in February (live little plants!)
106. gazing into the night sky and seeing Orion's belt and the Big Dipper and realizing that though family is far, they still see the same stars we do (thank you, an American Tail :-) )
107. Mom telling me of her first "executive" decision
108. Grief Share journey & journeyers
109. Sunshine Sentiments
110. photo slideshow screensavers
111. amazing architecture
112. sweet helpers at Puggles & Cubbies
113. rushing home to wings and pizza and the 45th edition of the Super Bowl and enjoying the time with friends more than the game (I'm sure I'll be in trouble for this one... )
114. missing the last half and watching the One Thousand Gifts (in)courage Chapter One video :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Five-Minute Friday...

 Happy Friday, everyone!  Today I will try to do this blog in Five Minutes, as prompted by Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama .  I do need to confess, that what I type write now is not on the clock, nor was the loading of the photos, as that pretty much ate up my five minutes.  However,  I do have my timer set and will begin after the word go below.

Lisa-Jo's prompt this morning was:
"Stop, drop, and write. That’s what we do for five minutes here on Fridays.
No tweaking, no back-tracking, no self-editing. Just words. Lots of lovely words for a full five minutes.
This week the prompt is:What’s the best mail you got recently – email, text, or snail mail?"


Well, this is easy for me this week.  If you read the previous post, you know that I was going to check my mailbox on Tuesday to see if a letter had come from one of my sponsor children.  I had been hoping that I would get something from Katherine, as I haven't received anything from her yet.  I went out and checked right after posting, but alas the mail had not come.  Have I mentioned that I'm obsessed with getting mail?  I am!  The mail did come later around 5pm.  And I was disappointed because there wasn't a cream-coloured envelope with those special words on it for me... there was a bubble mailer from Compassion, and I assumed that it was the Compassion Sunday info I had ordered from them.  So, you can imagine my delight when I got into the house and opened it and was puzzled by the felt red hat with a white pompom on it...  It was a Christmas card and letter from Camilo, that had been written on December 9th!  Wow!  So awesome!  There were also two small pictures in the card.  A photo of him and then one with him and his mom and sister!  Delightful.

There was a mystery though, because his mom's name and sister's name aren't the same as in the first letter that I received from him...  have to wait and see about that.


Tania's first letter received on January 31, 2011

Camilo's second letter & card!  Received Feb. 1, 2011

Check out that awesome Santa!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Writing letters to my sponsor children

My family and I have been involved with child sponsorship for 8 years now (longer than Super Beautiful and Super Map have been alive).

Here's where I confess that for the first eight years I was a lame sponsor to our one sponsor child in Ecuador.  I really thought of it as just a financial support but didn't really realize the impact that letters can have on children in poverty;  nor did I really comprehend the power of prayer in the lives of these special children.

I'm happy to report, that my understanding has changed immensely with the help of Compassion International, their wonderful blog, resources, and the Compassion bloggers who've taken it upon themselves to inform us about the difference we can make in the life of a child.

After reading about and seeing the photos from Ann and Lisa-Jo's trip to Guatemala in September 2010, the Lord really laid it on my heart to change my lameness.  Due to logistical difficulties with our move from Canada, it was hard to sponsor more children at Hope of Bastion in Guayaquil, so while we continue to sponsor Maria through them, we have added some additional sponsor children (Tania, Allan, Camilo, Katherine & Loury) with Compassion.

My new game plan, Lord willing, is to write "actual" letters around the first of each month and to send e-mail letters around the middle of each month.

Yesterday, (after a concerted effort for a few days of writing, gathering, organizing, and printing) I was able to send out 6 letters to our various children.  I was blessed to find the first letter in the mail from our correspondent child, Tania!

Here are some photos of what I sent to the children yesterday.

This was our first "handwritten" letter to Loury in Haiti. We began sponsoring her in January, when the Haiti sponsorships re-opened.  Notice the folder at the top left.  Compassion sends you one with your sponsorship package for you to include some info about yourself, your family and a short message for the child.  In addition to the folder and letter, we included some stickers, a coloring sheet in French and English, a copy of the picture of her and some "snow" photos from our trip to Canada.

Here's what I sent to Katherine in Nicaragua.  The little book is a mini book printable from  All the items that we send have to be paper.  Katherine is our next most recent sponsor child, we are anxiously awaiting her first letter.

This is Camilo in Guatemala's pile.  Very similar to Katherine's though I substituted some more manly stickers :)  We received our first letter from Camilo, on November 23rd, one short month after he wrote it.  This, I have learned is very fast, considering how much these letters have to go through to get here.

Allan in Ecuador's packet is virtually identical to Camilo's as they are only a year apart in age.  I did substitute some dog stickers, because Allan mentioned in his first letter to us that he loves dogs and cats.  Allan's letter was written a few days after Camilo's but it took the more usual amount of time to get here, arriving on January 8th.

Tania, also from Ecuador, is our first correspondence-only sponsorship.  She is financially sponsored by someone else, possibly a corporation, or someone who has signed off, saying that they are unable write to her.  The same mail truck that picked up my letters to the children also dropped one off from her yesterday!  So excited to hear from her.  A few more "grown up" stickers for her as she is quite a bit older than the other children.  I was also able to find a devotion already translated into Spanish and printed off a copy for her.

Here are the four letters ready to be stuffed into a large 9X12 envelope.  I mailed Loury's packet separately as all the items fit in a regular letter envelope.  The Compassion children's letters all get mailed to their office in Colorado.
Last here, but first in our sponsorship lives is our packet to Maria in Ecuador.  Her birthday is coming up in March, so I also have a birthday card for her (keeping in mind that it takes time to get things there).  There are some tracts and little cards that I'm sending for the youth group leaders at the church. She and Tania are only a few years apart so I included the devotion also.  I  included some stickers for her niece and nephew, that she's written about in the past.

I am trying to get more organized and have a giant binder in which I keep all correspondence from both groups that we sponsor children with, all our child correspondence, and copies of our letters to them.  In the absence of fancy pocket folders for each child, I hole-punched some ziploc bags to store items that I want to send each child in the next mailing at the beginning of March and subsequent months.

You'll have to excuse me...  I need to go check my mailbox for one of these: