Addicted to Muffins and Other Such Nonsense...

When you're at home all day and your baby is in a good and happy enough mood to sit in his little infant chair, what do you do?

You bake!

I've been baking muffins for Jake to take to work, and today's addition was raisin bran muffins.  It's been a while since I've made them, and I forgot how delicious healthy goodness tastes.  There's nothing wrong with freshly baked muffins in the morning, but I'm learning that if I don't put them away in the freezer as soon as they've cooled, I'm going to eat more than my self-allotted "two-per-day".

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It's dangerous to be at home with all these baked goods around, but I've been using healthy ingredients and trying to stay within my limits.  Additionally, my 30-day exercise challenge-today is day eight!-has been kicking my butt and helping me to be mindful about what I eat again.

That mindfulness has caused me to save the best for last.  At the end of the day I have one indulgence: Chocolate peanut butter "fondue".  I use the word fondue loosely because it's not your typical romantic, slowly-savoured fruit-starring chocolate-y magical goodness.  It's melting a tablespoon of peanut butter and a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave and dipping a banana in the ensuing gooey mess.  Don't even think for a second that I gobble up the banana as quickly as possible and then savour the rest of the melted peanut butter/chocolate mixture by itself.  With a spoon. Slowly.

Because that never happens.




Tag teaming...

Knowing when you're spent, when you've absolutely hit the end of your rope, admitting when you need help...

This can be hard to do.

Adrian has been awake pretty non-stop for the past couple of days. He has been  napping on and off, but they have been so unpredictable. For example, as I type this he's napping on me, but who is to say he won't wake up the moment I move him to his bed?

I'm so grateful to be doing this parent thing with Jake. He's always telling me,"I'm on your side" when my frustration mounts to the point of seeing him as the enemy. When I get frustrated and worn out with Adrian, Jake is always there to give me a break, and vice versa. We're partners, and I like it that way.

However, I have to work really hard to remember that he isn't just the father of our child, but that he's my husband who also deserves much needed love and attention when he gets worn out and tired from day to day life as a parent, student, and sole provider for our family.

Babe, I love you, and you work so hard to keep this family happy and healthy. Thanks for being my partner and for having godly patience and wisdom when times get tough.



Reading bingo...

In addition to your reading goal for 2014, wouldn't it be cool to do this reading bingo? It's a cool way to give your list more focus, plus you get to play bingo! Let's see who wins first?



A Shameless Little Plug ...

I've learned that sometimes being a mother means quickly finding food  to shove in your face when your screaming baby is vying for attention.

It means a 5 minute shower is a luxury.

It means it can take you an hour to finish a bowl of pasta for dinner.

It means your tea can go cold while you're making silly faces at your baby in hopes to be rewarded with a smile. 

Now hold on a minute...

I can handle some of those other minor setbacks, but... cold tea?  Unacceptable.  There is nothing comforting about returning to a mug of cold tea, especially if it's black.  So I've started putting my tea in a travel mug, and, Voila! Problem solved.  I can leave that tea for a good six hours, and it will at least be room temperature upon my return.  

Now, I must admit that I've been quite the advocate for coffee over the years, especially my beloved French press.  Pregnancy and post-pregnancy have changed my java consumption, since the caffeine in coffee can be unkind to my baby's little digestive system.  Not only have I started drinking more tea, but I've also started drinking what I call gourmet, or luxury, tea.  It's not boxed, stale, bagged tea.  It's loose-leaf "Hawa-ya-Doin' Green", "Leapin' Lizards Chai", or "After Eight Black".  It's delicious, it's re-brewable, it's Steeped Tea!

How did I get hooked up with such amazing beverages at my fingertips?  My sister, Melissa Wright, is an independent consultant in Orillia, ON, and she kept enticing me with me little samples until I could no longer resist the pull.  I finally bought some delicious Amaretto Rooibos and Ginger Peach black tea, and was not disappointed. Not only does she sell hot teas, but also cold/iced teas, hot chocolate, and various tea drinking paraphernalia, such as travel mugs, beautiful tea pots, and decorative infusers.  

So, for all you busy people out there who enjoy a nice, warm, perfect cuppa tea, don't waste another minute drinking cold, boring, store-bought bagged tea.  Check out Steeped Tea with Melissa Wright (or your nearest independent consultant) for all your travel mug and loose-leaf needs.

**Melissa did not endorse me to write this, but I'm hoping that when I visit her next she'll have my favourite pot of "Coco Sweet Sencha" green tea a-brewin' !


Character in the Making...

You know that thing that God tests you on? That "thing" that you keep thinking you've got under wraps then all of a sudden shows up again at the most inappropriate moment?  Well, mine is patience.  All my life God keeps bringing me back to this one thing, and, at surface level, it doesn't feel like I'm becoming any more patient.  If I take a deeper look, however, I can see those places where God has used His tests to hone my character to be more Christlike, where patience has prevailed despite my sinful human nature.

Recently Jake and I acquired some news that will challenge our spiritual character for years to come.  I keep asking the Lord to please give me more patience, and I think He's just given me the lifetime training plan for it.

Character building is ongoing in the life of a believer, and our Teacher has high expectations.

And yet...

He doesn't challenge us without giving us the necessary tools to navigate through, and He's always patient with us!

There is also hope in knowing that these struggles only last for this lifetime, and that when we worship God in eternity, he will have made our  character training complete.



Meal Plans Revised...

Since giving birth to Adrian, meals have been pretty much the last thing on our minds (even though food is still the number one thing on my mind!).  We are thankful for many people from our church who made meals for us that first week home, but after that was all gone, we were left to our own devices (and kitchen!) again.

As I caught myself stuffing my face with marshmallows for the millionth time in a desperate attempt for some quick sustenance, I realized something had to change.  I love change and variety, I really do, but right now what I need is stability.  Jake and I decided to come up with a weekly meal plan that we can count on, so we're not scratching our heads wondering what to make, or, worse, giving up on a meal because it's too complicated for our busy schedules.  Better yet, Jake can make at least three of these meals!  Here is our very user-friendly, easily adaptable meal plan for this season of our lives:

monday: spaghetti
tuesday:chicken stir fry
wednesday: sweet potato chili
thusday: fish
friday:chicken fajitas
saturday: train wreck

sunday: quiche

I like that it's healthy and predictable, and if we want to try something new, we can always change it up.  I'm looking forward to eating better in the next coming weeks (but I can't promise that s'mores won't happen ever again...)


Book Challenge 2014...

Lately I've been a little disappointed in myself for not meeting my book reading challenge for last year.  I read 48 out of 50 books!!! Being only two books away from reaching my goal was frustrating, but the problem lies in how many TV shows I was watching versus reading books.  I have recently discovered free e-books through our public library, as well as an e-reader app for my smartphone.  Practically speaking, I may not be able to read 50 books this year, so I'm going to aim for 40 instead. One of my favourite bloggers, Sarah Bessey, is doing a reading challenge with her husband. They have recommended 12 books for the other to read (one for each month of the year). I wanted to do this with Jake, but he suggested less since he doesn't read much. So we've suggested three books each.

 Here are my recommendations to Jake :
1. The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Jake's recommendations for me are as follows (he actually recommended four because I read more than he does):
1. Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda, by Henry T. Blackaby
2. Katherine Parr: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought, Brandon G. Withrow
3. Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan
4. Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

The idea is to expand our reading genres, and since I generally read dramatic fiction novels, Jake's got a good list for me with fantasy and some non fiction.  Aside from these three, I also plan to read The Hobbit again (that was a mandatory read in Grade 8), and get into some more Christian life non fiction.

Does anyone else struggle with the idea of re-reading a favourite book? There are so many books to read that it feels like a waste to re-read.  And yet, if you love the book, why not? As Christians, we're constantly re-reading the Bible, and we always get new and fresh truths from it each time.  Perhaps re-reading isn't all for naught after all...


New Year Things...

Welcome to 2014, everyone! Jake and I rang in the new year like every responsible parent who stays up way too late on a normal day.  We celebrated with friends of ours who have 10 month old twins, and enjoyed their company along with some delicious appetizers.  The new year began with a too-early wake-up due to baby, a delightful breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs, and a mid-morning nap in our friends' particularly sunny front room.  We returned home, not wanting to return to the reality of day-to-day.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful New Years' celebration, too.  This year we have some exciting things to look forward to, including a family trip to Florida, Adrian's first birthday, and possibly a move!

Have a wonderful weekend!