Fab Foodie...

Today's random thoughts are on something delicious. After years of hating it and avoiding it like the plague, I now have a new hobby: cooking. I have my handsome husband to thank for that, since he showed me that you can actually have fun while cooking. We have recently started up (once again) our habit of planning out our weekly meals, which I am looking forward to making. This week are a couple of exciting ones, that I am DYING to make.

One is moussaka, a traditional middle eastern and Mediterranean dish that usually contains lamb and eggplant. Mine will be made with beef instead of lamb, but I'm so eager to try this out!! Props to my Mom who gave me Company's Company The Potato Book with the recipe in it, which I just found yesterday. **HAPPY**

The other meal I'm looking forward to cooking this week is this recipe from the 2011 Milk Calendar: the Chicken noodle bowl. I even got to buy rice vinegar, rice noodles, AND Sriracha hot sauce from the Asian aisle in Food Basics, specifically for this recipe.
**Feels so Asian=WIN**
Chicken Noodle Bowl
I mean, doesn't this make your mouth water?!

Every Wednesday during the English Training Camp, we get to have a "Cooking Party". This means I get to plan all the meals, which include a side dish and a dessert. It's pretty fun, and so far the students have been enjoying learning to cook non-Asian food. This week we'll be making individual pizzas, iceberg lettuce with shrimp salad, and banana muffins. I'm excited!



In the Cool of the Day...

Well, it's not quite that cool yet, but I am just remembering that at this time yesterday I had already been in my friend's pool for an hour and a half! I spent four and a half hours in their pool, hence, the pool party. It was so wonderful, and definitely satiated my need for a good swim.

Jake and I didn't realize how fast the week-ends go. I am not exactly eager to start another long week, but I am thankful for the jobs God has given to both of us. They are blessings in this time of employment deficits.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week-end.



A Time to Swim...

Jake and I are going to a pool party today. Not just any pool party. A Heritage "reunion" pool party. It happens every year, and every year it gets more and more fantastic. Plus, I'm married, so now I don't have to feel awkward swimming in front of Jake!

For some unknown reason, there was always some unspoken boy/girl split that would happen. All the girls would be in the pool at the same time, while the guys were in the hot tub, and then there would be the switch. I never understood this heightened awareness of our gender differences, especially when it made it more awkward. If we were at a beach, no one would care, we would all wear what we wear, and that's the end of it. But for some reason, the dynamics change when it's in someone's backyard.

That being said, I think this year will be the least likely to have that awkward tension. Many of the people who will be there are now married, or will be getting married shortly. Plus, over time, the "Heritage rules" syndrome becomes less prevalent in our minds.

All that to say, I'm excited to be getting some reprieve. I'm pretty sure I will be in that pool all afternoon :)



Random Thought Day...

My, it's so different living life without allergies. I haven't had to take a Reactine in probably two or three weeks, which means I can start wearing my contacts again! When I originally got them, the doctor who examined my eyes told me that I could wear them even throughout allergy season. Apparently he doesn't get seasonal allergies, because I could not even wear them for an hour without wanting to scratch my eyes out. I'm very grateful for this reprieve, and happy to know that there is hope after allergy season!!!

I've been reading other people's blogs, and I think it's neat how some people have a specific theme for each day of the week, like "Cool Finds Monday", or "Picture Wednesday". I am kind of intrigued. I am worried about simply being a copy-cat of someone else, however, I could pick my own topic for each day. Hmmm....



Riesens and New Sandals...

So, I am not supposed to be having anything sweet today, but I caved and ate two little Riesen candies- 40 calories each. Hopefully that won't break the scale. I just needed a little pick-me up. But I suppose we always say things like that to justify our food habits. I just got this book in the mail yesterday, and I'm eager to read it. Made to Crave was written by a woman who offers some insights into switching our cravings from junk food to our wonderful Lord and Saviour. So far, it's pretty good.

Our good friends, Chris and Allie, came to visit us yesterday, so we could watch the last intallment of Harry Potter together. We've gone to see the last two with them, and decided not to break tradition on this last one. When I got into their car, I noticed a pair of really nice sandals sitting on the seat beside me. I commented to Allie on how much I liked them, and she said, "If they fit you, you can have them!"

UMMMM....YES PLEASE!! I mean, look at these beautiful gladiators!!!

I have wanted a pair like this for a really long time, and for some reason just haven't got them. And this is why. God wanted to bless me through Allie. So, if Allie ever reads this, I just want you to know that you pretty much made my day!!! (and because you and Chris came all the way down to see HP with us and stay the night...that was pretty awesome too!!)

Hopefully everyone survives the heat today. Supposedly it's the hottest day in Canadian history.



Humid, humid, humid...

["Beautiful Orillia"- don't you just wanna jump right in?]

I don't care if people grew up driving 1 hour to the beach when it was hot out. It's just NOT right!!! I am a Northerner, and take great pride and saying that I only had to walk 10 minutes to one beach, and maybe 1/2 hour (5 min drive) to the other, and they were IN TOWN.

Hear this, people, living in a beach town is not over-rated. I would give anything for that right about now. I'm pretty sure I would be at the beach every evening.

I know I'm ranting. I guess I'm just feeling a little bit defensive of myself, for simply wanting a nice place to cool down. Also, this is the first summer I've lived without AC in two years, in this town. I was used to it in my hometown, because my parents never had it when I was growing up. But this...oh man. God, help me if You ever send me to a hot country to be a missionary. I think I just might melt away.

mmmmmm. melt aways. Like those chocolates that melt in your mouth....you know the ones I'm talking about! I like this change of topic...

Enjoy the heat wave!



God is Good, All the Time...

I am always grateful to God when I find guidance for Christian living within His Word. Sometimes I find myself thinking that He isn't clear enough, but I know that isn't true. Here is something to boost your day:

"Flee also:
-youthful lusts

but pursue:
-peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart

But avoid:
-foolish and ignorant disputes (knowing that they generate strife)

And a servant of the Lord must:
-not quarrel but be gentle to all
-able to teach
-in humility correcting those who are in opposition (if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will). "

-2 Timothy 2:22-26



Soon and Very Soon...

This morning I was reading in 1 Thessalonians, and I found some encouraging words.

"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4

I have been concerned about my lack of thought regarding heaven, not to mention how confused I get when I try to think about how we'll live there, not only for a lifetime, but eternally...like, forever! It's a staggering thought for our small human minds to comprehend.

I love how Paul includes this dialogue about heaven while sympathizing with those who are grieving about death. One of my favourite parts is when he says, "and so we will be with the Lord forever." I know I don't understand how it will work, just yet, all I really need to know is that I will be with Him. For all of eternity!

One of the main reasons I was encouraged by this passage today was because I have been praying for God to give me a longing for heaven, and that I would be able to think about it more. I just picked Thessalonians this morning in what would seem a random matter, but God had everything planned long before time began.

I have been noticing all the small things that God orchestrates perfectly, that are not merely coincidence. Like how I had all the ingredients for a favourite fish chowder recipe, without previously planning it. Or how the plates that went underneath the bowls were still clean, and went right back into the cupboard. And how a favourite song came on the radio just as I turned on the car. And how the mornings and the evenings have been just cool enough to do the things that have to be done.

Our God is truly an awesome God!!!




My Honey's Birthday...

Jake turns 26 years old today, and it's his first birthday being married. I'm so excited to be able to celebrate with him today, so much so that I couldn't wait to give him his birthday present-I conceded to my inclinations and gave it to him on Monday. He was thrilled, and hasn't stopped thanking me for the Planet Earth DVD's. He has thanked me almost every hour since! (You think I'm joking...

I'm not.)

Needless to say, I'm pretty proud of myself that I know my husband well enough to give him a gift that even he didn't know he wanted until he opened it. However, that's when the pride kicks in. Although I think he's thanked me enough for the gift, my heart swells up just a little more every time. I get into the mindset that it's all about me, instead of all about him. It's kind of like Christmas, where we can get so focused on the presents instead of focusing on the One whose birth we celebrate.

Jake and I have recently started doing devotions together. For a while, we just kept forgetting, and to be honest, our priorities haven't been all that straight either. This devotional book we've been going through was given to us by my parents, and it discusses different topics over several days. Right now we're going through "happiness". For all the triviality that word can possess, there is something within it that I need to remember. It is sacrifice. For our marriage to be happy, and for me to keep my husband happy, I need to be sacrificial. I need to remember to do things for him that might not be my preference, but that make him happy. I also need to be thankful to God for him, and to remind myself of the reasons we got married in the first place. When I start to become prideful, my focus shifts from Jake, and most importantly the Lord, and moves to myself. I am praying for even more guidance and wisdom for how to become a more loving and gracious wife, and to get rid of all the pride that can even make birthdays less than humble.

Jake, I wish you a wonderful day, and an even more exciting year, filled with friendship-building, challenge-seeking, grace-abounding, love-increasing, food-eating, experience-making, and God-growing.

I love you, and thank God for you (and your love for watching an infinite number of Planet Earth DVD's).



Back to Home...

It's amazing, after all the time I was dying to go on vacay, how much I missed our little apartment and small-time downtown core.

Jake and I spent a lovely week at his nana's cottage up near Midland area. We went up on the Friday, and spent all of Saturday celebrating my parents' 25th wedding anniversary (which is actually tomorrow), and then stayed at the cottage by ourselves on Sunday and Monday. Jake said it felt surreal being back there (since many a summer since his birth included a trip to that famed place), and yet he was now there with his wife. It felt pretty cool and grown-up, living in a little house by ourselves :) We had so much fun those two days, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and floating out on the lake on a wind-surfing board (and trying not to tip it over and land up swimming neck deep in feathery sea-weed and algae). Tuesday was my sister, Vanessa's birthday, so we went strawberry picking and then spent the afternoon with my mom and younger brother. Wednesday was spent with our good friends Chris and Allie, who stayed until Thursday morning. Of course, it decided to rain that day, so we stayed in and watched X-Men, and roused ourselves just enough to go into town and eat out.

Thursday morning found me saying goodbye to my dear friend Ruth-Ann, who is moving to BC. It felt kinda weird, and when we hugged, it was like we were just saying, "see you in a month!". I probably won't see her until December, though. I wish her all the best in her travels, and know that she will have a blast in this new adventure.

By Friday, I was much too eager to return home. The cottage had lost it's shine, I was all tuckered out, and getting kinda stressed out about starting my job again this week. i wanted to go home. But we had a great day, enjoyed a morning at the Elmvale Jungle Zoo, and then visited with a wonderful couple whom I love and admire, the Torries. On Saturday, we went to a wedding, and Maria looked absolutely stunning!

I persuaded Jake that we should leave that night, so we cleaned up, locked up the cottage, and made our way back to Home Sweet Home. I feel so much more relaxed, and happy to be back in our cozy little pad.

I loved vacationing with Jake, and we now have some new and wonderful memories of his family cottage.