Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes vol. 4?

My takes are fairly random today-so enjoy! 
And pop over to Jen's for the real thing!


Father Barron has an excellent little take on Biblical Family Values this week. Its so good to be reminded that our children aren't ours but are meant for God. It's a difficult thing to live as a parent, but when I look at my kids its hard to imagine that they could be mine, they're little walking miracles! But at the same time, it is a sacrifice to let something, or someone in this case, that you have devoted so much of yourself to just go out into the world to follow God's plan. I am going to need a few more years/decades to get my mind around that one.


I'm probably pretty late jumping on this bandwagon but I really love Starbucks Via instant iced coffee! I love iced coffee as a rule, but this stuff is so good for instant. Its strong, with the right amount of sweetness and tastes just like the real thing from Starbucks! I know its a fortune, but its a fun summer treat!


My husband and I are going out to a movie tonight! Shocker! However, the problem with never seeing movies anymore is having no idea what we want to see. Or really what I want to see. My husband watched The King's Speech last weekend with me so I think that earns him Captain America tonight. We'll see how that goes!


I need to get rid of Anthropologie in my facebook feed. I keep seeing their cute new tops and wanting to buy them! Its bad. But look at this one, its got a sweet little glasses print that I love-this may break my self control!


I just finished this book! It was my yearly trashy, chick lit, fun, summer read! I started it at the lake so it fit perfectly. Summer just doesn't feel completely like summer without a fun read. This one, although it definitely had aspects that were morally not good, was well written on the whole. Also; one storyline involved a young mom dealing with cancer which was compellingly written.


I love this painted cabinetry! And the open shelving with the wallpaper backing is so great! I don't know if even I could live with that bright a colour but I just love the way it feels. And the shelves are dreamily styled. I would have to buy all new dishes for open shelving too, of course! 


Tomorrow is the parade in town so we'll be taking the kids and watching them get as much candy as they can carry. Its a very summery-y thing to do and the weather is supposed to be nice. The husband has is still of from work, and since this is a long weekend he won't go back till Tuesday so I'm excited! Have a great weekend everyone!

A Nerdy Book review-Epic Wanderer by D'Arcy Jenish

Giant Nerd Alert! I've been reading Canadian History! 

Gasp you say? I know, its pretty bizarre even for nerdy ol' me, but ever since I was in the mountains in June I've gotten a tiny urge to pique my slight interest in Canadiana. Actually, in reality it is impossible to be in view of the Rocky Mountains and not think in the back of your mind what it must have been like for those first brave European explorers who first crossed these majestic mountains. 

Epic Wanderer: David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West is a great biography of a pretty interesting man who was one of the first men who greatly shaped the country of Canada. He first moved to Canada at the age of 14 to work for the Hudson's Bay Company at remote trading posts when there was hardly any European settlement west of Lake Winnipeg. Through hard work and skill Thompson worked his way up from trading post clerk to an aspiring surveyor, he traveled through most of Western Canada surveying most rivers and trading routes to the Rockies before being the first European to follow the Columbia River to the Pacific. It is remarkable to any Canadian, knowing how vast and difficult the land is to travel now, let alone by the canoe Thompson depended upon, that so much of the country could be travelled by one man and mapped to scientific perfection with such simple technology. Thompson went on to produce the first map of Western Canada for the Northwest Trading Company, but would never earn any money from it nor receive any acclaim for this accomplishment during his lifetime. He died almost penniless, but thankfully left a wealth of journals or else history might have never known his important contributions.

D'Arcy Jenish objectively portrays Thompson, and through the quoting of Thompson's journals shows a man of great integrity, determination, and intelligence. Thompson's integrity towards his family is notable, since most white men of that time would often leave their native wives and children behind after they had earned their riches in the fur trade, but Thompson brought his wife and children on much of his travels and valued his family life throughout his life. He also had a great gift of faith. In all his travels through vast wilderness, he always documented his prayers in his journals, always giving his next leg of discovery over to God's care. 

The book moves along quite well and gives a full overview of Thompson's life which is interesting in that his momentous discoveries did little to advance him once he returned to live in civilization. My only qualm with Jenish's writing in general is a lack of geographic reference. I think I know Canadian geography quite well, and especially western Canada which is what the book deals with mostly, but Jenish continually uses the geographic terms of Thompson's day which give the reader little to go by and I was left many times wondering if Thompson was nearer Lake Winnipeg or Lake Athabasca. However, the sheer amount of Thompson's travels would have meant an almost constant translation of locations which could prove disastrous for the narration. This book helped me appreciate a figure in Canadian history that often is overlooked but whose contributions were monumentally important to the development of the country. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer's tough for prayer...

I've finally been thinking about how my prayer life has taken a hit lately. I'm not sure if I can completely blame the summer, but it does make taking a little more quiet time difficult. And although I've been home and my routine hasn't been changing all that much, with different day trips, my husband taking some time off, swimming lessons and visiting family (not to mention all the extra laundry/packing this creates!), it seems that I've lost the little routines of my prayer life that I did have. 

I just read yesterday Pope Benedict's suggestions for a good summer vacation. Of course he makes the great points of how visiting cultural sites, reading, appreciating nature renew us spiritually. Also, we should be intentional about renewing friendships with others and God, and reflecting of Scriptures. These all sound like wonderful things that I could do if somehow I didn't have be corralling three toddlers, and then cleaning up after them! For me I feel as if time is flies through the summer days! Its the end of July already, and I feel that even though I've tried to enjoy our summer every spare minute is crammed with trying to keep the house clean, the laundry semi-washed, giving kids a catch-up nap etc. etc. Don't get me wrong I don't think I'm a slave to this work, it just feels like my days are more fully packed than usual, which I'm sure is true for 99.9 percent of people in the summer.

I've been trying to catch up with just my basic readings this morning as the kids went out with my husband and the last few days in the Magnificat the reflections on self abandonment are really appropriate for me. I, of course, think I need to do more "things" to get a better prayer life going, when again and again I am reminded that the self-abandonment and acceptance of today is far more effective in getting closer to Christ. Here's the two passages that made me think, and hopefully start to improve!

"We have to accept the self, and the surroundings, and the story, that God's providence arranges for us. In humility we must accept our self - just as we are; in charity, we must accept and love our neighbor just as he is; in abandonment, we must accept God's will just as things happen to us, and just as he would have us act. Faithful compliance with his will and humble acceptance of his arrangements will bring us to full union with Christ."
                                                             -  Dom M. Eugene Boylan

"It is not the business of the soul to determine the particular matter of the submission it owes to God; its sole business is to be ready for everything and to submit to everything. There lies the essence of self-abandonment;that is what God demands of the soul. The free self-offering that he asks of the heart consists of abnegation, obedience, and love: the rest is his business. Whether the soul takes pains to fulfill the duty of its state of life, or follows with sweetness an attraction inspired by God, or peacefully submits to the impressions of grace on its body and soul is no matter: in all this it exercises in the depth of the heart one and the same general act of self-abandonment. 
                                                                           -Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Home again.

Isn't is wonderful that you can give a kid a shovel on the beach and he'll entertain himself for hours? That's what happened last week while Gemma was in swimming lessons, Dom and Luke kept themselves happy digging away. I just love watching them as they play, letting them do whatever their merry little hearts desire. It's gotta be one of my favourite parts of my day.

We just got back from a weekend trip to Calgary, and so I'm unpacking and generally trying to get the house organized. My husband took the whole week off which is wonderful so we'll be getting some things done around the house, boring!, and then fitting in something fun, hopefully! 

I'm off to deal with the laundry-hopefully I come out alive!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anyone in the mood for a turban??

As a side effect from my recent hunt for vintage silk scarves I've also developed a slight obsession with this turban look. I'm not too sure if I could pull off the full turban, but the last picture and tutorial found here is more achievable. 

On a sad note, I found a 60's style graphic red and black scarf for 99 cents at value village a couple weeks ago, but upon washing it and trying to get the value village smell out of it the colours all ran while I was hanging it to dry. It was pretty depressing. My hunt for the perfect vintage scarf continues and until then I'll feel like Miss Matty from Cranford, longing for a turban!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reason number 58,980 why its hard to be a mom...

Another reason being a mom is hard: the every day part. 

Doesn't that sound ridiculous? But I think that's really what it boils down to alot of the time. You just can't take a personal day or even call in sick when you're a mom. I mean sometimes we get a nice break when planned or appointed, but the days where you're just in an awful mood, or don't have enough sleep, or things go wrong just can't be scheduled for. 

Yesterday I had a perfectly awful day. And for no apparent reason. The kids were pretty much their normal selves, random tantrums of two year olds included, but I was screaming and yelling all the time. Or so it felt. I felt like I had turned into Kate Gosselin. And that's a bad day my friends. 

But today was great! Figure that out! I almost never lost patience, had the kids out all day, no yelling, I felt great and not guilt filled and awful like yesterday. Its this bad day/good day stuff that is ridiculously humbling. 

Do I think it would be different if I worked? No. But I do think that staying at home and being around your children all day ups the odds on your children seeing you at your most awful and weakest. I think it really is a huge human frailty thing, as in unavoidable and inevitable. So much so that I wish I could have gone to confession yesterday to rid myself of all my anger, loss of patience, and big fat sins of the day. However, it does help your self awareness alot! Would I notice all my impatience and anger without my kids around? Probably not. The vocation of mother seems to involve a lot of this humbling/self evaluation cycle on a daily basis. It really makes me wonder if such stark reminders of one's frailty and weaknesses are encountered in other vocations. Well, I'm sure they are, but they probably don't come in the small yet very vocal package of a two year old! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

If you want me I'll be at the lake...

via doesn't this guy kinda look like Danny Kaye from a distance. But I think he has a funky goatee going on.

Well this week is the first time jumping into swimming lessons! My baby girl who is now 4 is going to go into lessons at the lake about 15 minutes from our house. To illustrate how small-town it is these swimming lessons run Tue-Sun with three 20 min lessons a day per age group, for only $5 for the week! And because its pretty small town these 3 lessons per day are spread out over the course of the whole day thus eating up the majority of your day. But don't worry there are worse things in life than spending a summer day lakeside with the kids. But saying that the forecast for this week gets pretty chilly by Thursday so I might start complaining then! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Seven Quick Takes vol. 3.

Here's my 7 random thoughts for today-thanks to the wonderful, hard-working, Jennifer for hosting!


Yesterday I thought I was having a great morning! No dishes because I did them the night before (which doesn't happen often), kids playing happily for a change in the basement without asking for me every 5 minutes, and I even got to some of my extra housework like cleaning my window screens. But I had left the kids for about 10 minutes when Dom wanders upstairs asking for a new band-aid for his finger, except his big problem was being completely covered in soot and ash. Head to toe ash. We have a wood stove in our basement and for some reason the kids got a bit carried away and opened it up and had a great time getting it everywhere and on every piece of furniture and of course, themselves! I was so angry and had to bathe everyone and then had to lock them in their room so I could clean everything up. My easy morning turned into a heck of a lot of vacuuming. And yet another instance of how quickly kids can make such ginormous messes!


I finally finished The Club of Queer Trades by G.K. Chesterton! Yes, my 106 year old copy was read in its full glory. I could smell the years...well, not quite, but in my imagination I did. I think this is such a great book for people new to Chesterton's fiction. Its broken up into what amounts to individual stories which are, naturally, clever and funny, and adventurous and romantic. Chesterton says alot through zany adventures and his philosophy is best absorbed through his entertaining prose. 


On a completely different note: how do we feel about coloured denim?? I really think there must be something up with me because I am feeling like jumping on this bandwagon for some reason. Ok, the reason is actually the adorable outfits Anthropologie is putting together. Maybe I couldn't pull it off for a more realistic price tag but it looks like a lot of fun, and I have a hard time saying no to outrageous colour in any application! Look at these beauties!


I read about a wonderful idea this week and its stuck with me so I think I'm going to try it-how does planning a date for the hubby at home once a month sound? Rebekah at a bit of sunshine wrote about this great idea and calls it "Dinner at Eight" in hopes your kids are in bed by then and is going to post once a month with a little theme/idea of what you can plan for your hubby. I think its a good push for me. As usually by dinner I'm completely wiped and must look like something that crawled out from under something. I'd like to purposefully do something nice just for my husband, maybe, I don't know, do my hair, and plan a really nice dinner for us. It sounds good in theory, I hope I can do it.


I was in the city shopping Wednesday and lets just say when HomeSense starts putting things on clearance I could easily buy enough to refurnish my entire home. Some of my favourite things there are the awesome table linens that they put on for $5-$10 bucks. Its not a lot to spend but it can really cheer up your house quickly!


As I'm sitting here thinking about the best stuff I've read this week I have to say that both Jennifer's articles this week about babies and housework are so worth the read. Its beautiful to read the truth about your vocation.


Well our beautiful Canadian summer is not too hot and this weekend looks like temps will be in the low 20s. Everything is beyond lush and green and if it wasn't for the masses of mosquitoes this year it would be perfection! My husband is helping my dad out with a HUGE project of reburying all the ranch's electrical so I have a feeling I'm going to have some time to do frivolous things like watch some Humphrey Bogart movies with my sister and roast some marshmallows. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dean Martin Love

I know I'm the last person to be giving dinnertime/mom advice here(see last post) but one of my secrets is cranking Dean Martin while I make dinner and try to make it through the last hour before the beloved husband gets home.

I mean it just makes sense. How can you feel grumpy and tired while listening to him? He exudes cool. The big-band in the background, the occasional well-placed Italian phrase= gold! 

And of course you've got to appreciate his constant cigarette and scotch in hand, even if its a little too early to have your own much deserved drink after a day of tantrums, toddler trouble, and diapers you feel Dean wouldn't judge you if you did! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On bad kitchen accidents

I had a bad mommy moment yesterday. 

I was making dinner, and for some reason the kids had just come out of some serious corner time, it was about 20 min to daddy's ETA, and I was in the bathroom cleaning something up! I even had the door open and could see through the mirror into the kitchen. Dom even asked me if he could "Please help!?" He usually asks this and it usually means he pushes up a chair to the counter a couple good feet away from the hot stove while I'm making dinner.

But yesterday he pushed the chair within a foot of the stove and within a half a minute reached over and touched a pot lid that I had just taken out of a 400 degree oven. There was screaming and I ran and it all happened within two minutes! 

And it left me feeling awful that I wasn't watching them for every second. And for leaving the pot lid on the stove. I mean why isn't it possible to ALWAYS watch each and every kid?? Fortunately, he just has small little blisters on two fingertips, and seemed to feel much better as soon as he got a cool bandage. Unfortunately for me, I've still got pangs of guilt. 

Glad I've got a lot more days of loving this cute face ahead of me!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sometimes you gotta find yourself a photo booth for a little pick-me-up!

Happy Monday everyone! I'm really trying to energize myself with that one-I'm in some serious need of inspiration and motivation this morning. But we had a lovely weekend of company and kids having fun. I still can't get over how summer is flying by-everythings beautiful and green here, I really should be soaking it up to the max! 

On a sidenote-are these girls going into these photo booths by themselves? I find that kinda hilarious!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dr. Seuss x 100!

Here are some pics from our little trip to Fort Edmonton a couple weeks ago. I just thought I'd post them because the kids were so darn cute.

So far today my schedule includes washing windows and reading Old Hat, New Hat about 50 times! I still can't believe how babies love having a story read to them and will ask you to read it again as soon as you finish! Its hilarious, and right now the boys think Old Hat, New Hat is da bomb. I have it memorized in case the book goes missing for some reason.

Enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh

I just finished the excellent Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh. An artist's model is murdered and the studio of artists are the suspects, but the studio belongs to the beautiful painter Agatha Troy, Detective Roderick Alleyn's burgeoning object of affection. Alleyn has to discover the murderer while at the same time trying to not prove a completely insensitive police-type to Troy. 

Alleyn goes on to marry Troy in later novels, but I enjoyed this story that chronicled their first meeting and what seemed like a rocky start to their relationship. I found this to be one of the most personal books about Alleyn as his mother is also a charming character. Marsh does a masterful job layering Alleyn's charm and personal relationships with the plot and solving of the murder.

Ngaio Marsh was not just a great crime writer, but also a painter and expert theatre director. The novels where she brings in her other interests become the most exciting. Her detail in the process of painting, and of course the absurd characters that tell of personal encounters, make this book strikingly unique. 

Ngaio Marsh is deservedly one of the "Queens of Crime" along with Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers. Detective fiction appears to be formulaic but in reality any weakness in a writer, be it plot, character, or style cannot be hidden. Marsh has an expert hand with the plot development of crime fiction, but what is really surprising is coming upon a passage of her stunning descriptions. The passages truly stop you in your tracks and make reading her novels so enjoyable even if you're not a fan of detective fiction. 

*image found here

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Etsy Fav!

I love these beautiful photographs from artist Jennifer Steen Booher and her beautiful Etsy shop. I love how they're small objects arranged so beautifully. They'd add so much interest to a bathroom I think! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday thoughts.

Here's some summer wildflowers I picked last night. It was a fast gathering as the mosquitoes were attacking me from all sides but it was such a beautiful night to be out walking and enjoying summer! 

Here's a G.K. Chesterton quote for the week:

"And being good is an adventure far more violent and daring than sailing round the world."

Isn't that great? He has the most beautiful way of making truths that are sitting right in front of you so thrilling.

Friday, July 1, 2011

7 Quick Takes vol. 2

I'm linking up again with 7 Quick Takes over at Jennifer's. She can even come up with great blog posts days after giving birth-my hero!


Its the long weekend! Hurray! My husband got an extra day off so we have a lovely 4 day weekend together. We're planning on chipping away at some sort of organization of the house, painting, and campfires. Not too exciting but nice to be able to enjoy a precious Canadian summer weekend! 


I'm a fanatic about ONLY breastfeeding my babies for as long as possible! (Except with my poor second born, which I'm still experiencing guilt over, but bad nurser+getting pregnant again in 8 weeks=only 4 months breastfeeding.) Anyways, this is a really interesting article about the nutritional benefits of only breastfeeding babies for the first six months in African nations. I'm sure the nutritional benefits would be huge in our Western nations as well.


I'm in love with these cute owls from West Elm:

I already have white ceramic owl bookends but I love all things owl. I'm going to end up being one of those old ladies who when they die people haul out cartloads of crazy junk she collected for decades.


Have I mentioned today how much I love summer if only for the fact I can toss kids outside at any hour without having to spend over 25 minutes dressing them? Its a pretty big deal. Its a big time gain, and the kids are outside more! It really makes you wonder how Canadians have managed to raise kids over the course of history.


I've been online shopping again! I honestly don't know what stay-at-home moms did before the internet. You'd be forced to buy clothes within a small distance of you and only with the minuscule amount of time you have to shop. I love online shopping, I feel like I can find stuff thats my style and hunt for sales at the same time. J.Crew got my order yesterday, and I hope it's worth the insane amount they're charging for shipping to Canada!


You know what would help world peace a little bit? If everyone wrote recipes with butter in the same measurements! I can't stand the use of sticks, ounces and tablespoons! Can't we just decide on one way to measure butter? Its true I've been baking again...


Happy long weekend to everyone! Happy Canada Day today and 4th of July to the Americans! Hope everyone enjoys summer to the fullest this weekend, complete with great beverages and long nights!


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