Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Stewardship Update

Just a quick update on my stewardships.

Finances - nothing new to report but on track with my goals.

Home - my first small group has been on the go since March 7th and it's been fantastic! I have a nice little area downstairs for us and it's been kept nice and tidy down there this whole time, even with piles for my 40 Bags of Lent stored/hidden well in the basement.  During lent I found it hard to keep up with Flylady schedule and the stuff cleanse, so I took a hiatus, especially since some of my FL tactics are reducing clutter. But I'm back on track now and back at my schedule.
My meal planning has been ongoing for about 12 weeks now and it's been a blessing, just like last year. So nice not to have to think about choices after a long day at work, just follow the plan and done. I've had the chance to add a few recipes I didn't have last year, and it's been great trying new things, figuring out what we like and don't. It helps Sean is giving more feedback now that I'm experimenting more.  And, for those crazy days were nothing goes right, a few alternative options in the freezer/cupboard helps with avoiding McDs.
I still haven't added anything to my 'from scratch' repetoire, but I hope to attempt potato bread very soon.  I found a breadmaker recipe but it calls for potato flakes which I'm having a hard time finding, I'm wondering about the conversion in measurment if I used mashed potatoes instead. We'll have to do some Googling I guess.
Body - I'm still struggling getting back into treadmill time, I'm hoping that a new app (Couch to 5k)recommended by a friend will get my butt in gear again.  I have been trying to impliment more pilates as well, but the last few weeks have been slacking there too. I know I can wake up early and do this but then I often run out of time for Bible reading so I'm going to work extra hard at putting a priority on this every Tues., Thurs. and Sat/Sun. evenings, 3 times a week. And pilates I'm going to try to do at lunch as well as 15 min. after supper the days I don't run. Renewing my determination because...
As I've already mentioned on my Wellness Wednesday I fell off the eating plan, I think I got a little over confident with the not-counting-calories and allowance of sugar 4 out of 7 days.  I've decided to detox again, but in a little easier way - I'm doing the smoothie thing again for the majority of 2 weeks, the smoothie ingredients follow the same detox plan, no milk, no sugar, no carbs other than fruit, with protein powder, spinach, and a little fibre. This worked wonders 2 years ago when it wasn't even as healthy a smoothie so I have high hopes of breaking the reappearing carb addiction. For suppers I'm having only chicken breasts seasoned with spices, no sauces, and a few veggies. I had a few allowances because we had lunch plans last week out at a restaurant, but I made a healthy chicken choice, and then at a women's retreat over the weekend I also made the healthiest choices I could. Then I'm going to go back to my original plan except for place some rewards/punishments for sugar consumption and go sugar free 4 out of 7 days instead of vice versa. It was a good reminder that I can only let my guard down so far.....I'm ok with a little leeway but give myself too much and I just about tank myself. I also really need to focus on the emotional reasons behind my 'tanking' too.
I am still doing well on cutting out caffeine, I've only had about 1 cup per month since I started at the beginning of January.  I'm really beginning to enjoy tea a lot more.

Earth - Monday last week was my first day out in the yard this spring and so I turned my compost pile (untouched since last fall) and added all the compost I've been storing up since then.  Luckily it liquifies over time, didn't actually take up as much room as I thought it would. I know, gross, lol :P
I also started off seeds for several herbs and for peas. Thanks to Pinterest I have a few new ideas for my garden, from herbs to vine vegetables, starting seeds to watering.

I haven't seeded my carrots yet, soon, and I think I'll get my peppers and tomatoes from seedlings again since I didn't have seeds for them like I thought I did. I cleaned out the old containers of dried up plants and debris, as well as my oregano patch, which looks like it's flourishing on par with last year :)  I feel like my garden this year will be much more promising.
Since my success with local beef I've been trying desperately to get local lamb (to replace pork) with very little luck. The place I get beef lost it's lamb contact for a year and I found a new place but they only deliver to Winnipeg once per month and my timing with trying to order has missed the shipment both times.  I'm going to try again once farmer's markets open because it's much more readily available at FMs. 
I'm still working at getting greener, especially to conserve water, I'd really like to buy a rain barrel this year, and I found a cool idea on Pinterest to run a hose from the barrel. 

I think I'm going to keep a watering can in my kitchen too, then when it's full I can water the veggies right outside the kitchen door. We also have a kit from the City of Winnipeg to attach to shower heads for better water conservation.  No word on fixing the bikes yet, have to check into new laws that are being implemented for bike riders.
Talents/Purpose - I've been doing better at the blog lately, have had an influx of posts the last month or so, and although they haven't been primarily about capturing my life I think it's still capturing me in ways I haven't exhausted already :)  I've had a few creative journal entries lately too, but I still want to work on my handwritten journals a little more.
I am still pumped and busy with my new creative outlet though! I have 5 new canvases waiting to morph based on the inspiration swirling around my head....a few more gifts for a few more dear ones in my life.  I also did a little creative endeavor with my oregano, infusing vodka and olive oil, that I've already posted about.  It was fun but I don't have a lot of friends who feel comfortable being so experimental with their cooking :) We'll have to see what I can do with my plethora of oregano this year.
I also finally found the scrapbook pages I need for my wedding album, I am certain now I will finish it this year...I WILL! I have to finish it before our 10th anniversary! Especially since I first vowed to get it done before our 5th!!
I am still very much enjoying my CR work, I've been able to free up some tasks that weren't my original responsibility and therefore have been able to take on a few new temporary tasks that fit better with my leadership area - promotions. I find that a lot more fun than scheduling.  And as I mentioned my small group has started and we are an awesome little team, we love being together, opening up to each other, supporting and encouraging each other.  We were so stoked to be able to go to the women's retreat together and what a blessing our time together was!

Communities - our his and hers connections have been less on our dates and more about taking the opportunity when we can.  Just about every Friday we have a ride and a talk, after our night at CR, and it's been really great having the solitude and undivided attention of each other. Loving it.  And, I've been making an attempt to play the video game Sean enjoys most at least once per weekend, even if we aren't playing in game together I think he's feeling he's getting his 'shoulder-to-shoulder' time.
Still doing well with our couple/friend community, had some great girlfriend times lately, and especially at the women's retreat I was just at. Our CR small group shared a cabin and it was sooo fun! Plus I was able to meet even more ladies or spend time with some I don't get a lot of time with.
We just had 2 couples over for a potluck as well, which I've mentioned, that was a lot of fun.
As for a small group, my friend and her soon-to-be husband hope to start a couple's small group in the fall and they will live near us then, we hope it will work out to join their group as I have been really blessed and inspired by her spiritually already, I think being in a group together would be amazing.
I've been a little slacking on the Aunty time, I finally saw all the kidlings at Easter after having been an absent Aunty for 3 of them since Christmas! It pained me but it was great to be with them again and they seem to just love spending that time with me even more because it had been so long.  Have also been attempting to get in a blood donation, but time and health just hasn't been on my side.

Growth - my media fast has been mostly good, although the last 2 weeks I've been really busy with computer stuff and so I naturally do that in front of the t.v., but after last week's vacation I am determined to be back on that. I have been so productive and motivated by eliminating media once per week, I'm eager to get back to that.
I've still got 2 books on the go, the same ones. I've been reading at least once per week now but that doesn't get me through them very fast. I did get a big chunk read on my vacation though. Same with my Bible, but I'm determined to get up at 6:30 every week day and spend it reading the Bible, instead of trying to do 6 am workout and then read, as I mentioned earlier. I am working at fitting in the priorities and then letting everything else sift in where they fit, and I want to start my days with the biggest priority of all.
My prayer time has still been mostly consistent in frequency, but I've been all over the map otherwise.  I've been trying to fit in more 'just being with God' time, but I have to find a better time because I've been doing it at times where being still is just a conductor for sleep. I haven't done as much listening prayer lately as I've wanted but I have been hearing amazing things, which should motivate me to do it more!  I have my daily prayers, like my community/houses to pray for, for those in my life I'm led to share Christ with, and I've been really working at praying more for ministries at Church (not just mine, but also specifically certain leaders). And of course, praying for my loved ones (that's you friends!).  I sometimes think I need to quit my job so I can pray as much as I want to!

Living my Life - Our anniversary was a nice little road trip, it felt 'away' and it was a great chance to talk. We'll likely be making a trip to Altona in June as well when the newest Friesen munchkin is born.  I do get to actually travel this year as well, a conference for CR in California has been scheduled for our core leadership team around August long, I can't wait!
Other than that I've been a little too busy to fit in a lot of me time so I made up for it on vacation last week and did a LOT of me time.  A day in the yard working in the soil and sun....oh how I've missed you!  Reading, crafting, kitty playing (oh yes, we got a new kitty :) and just trying not to do any thing I don't have to!
And that's been my life lately....still mostly on track, not in the ruts anyway :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Laugh of the Day

So this actually happened Saturday so I'm posting it to Saturday :)

I was at a women's retreat this weekend, in a room with six other lovely ladies, new and dear friends. Upon waking up at 5:30 am Saturday morning, one of my roommates found herself hearing an orchestra of sound from all around the room, not all the same notes or vibrato, but all the same instruments.  She later described it to us as symphonic.

The only downside was how bad the room stank! LOL

What ladies can get away with when no men are around :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Three things you will always find in my purse!

1. Kleenex - especially with this never ending cold that has been recycled about 8 times over the last 8 weeks!

2. My wallet - including my Dave Ramsey envelope system (don't mug me though, the cash I carry is very limited except for the minute before grocery shopping ;)

3. My Tide-To-Go pen! For the amount I spill food on myself this is VERY essential.  And I've saved a few other people from embaressing spills as well.  And yes it does really work, it's amazing at just about everything except for oil/grease based stains.  In fact my boss just asked me to go and purchase some for him for work because he was using mine so much!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Right Now

This is just a glimpse of the crazyness in our home right now thanks to our new addition, Ember's new little sister Cinder. 

She's a 5 month old little rascal we loved the instant we saw her.

She is quite a LOT like Ember, we have a knack for adopting especially adorable cats!
They are both pretty quiet kitties, except when it comes to purring, Cinder is a regular motor....the opposite of Ember who you have to strain to hear.

She has the same colouring as Ember but more black and orange especially on her torso.
She also has huge eyes, but hers are hazel, Ember's are green.

Her favorite toys are Ember's as well :) Which has made for some interesting interactions since we brought her home on Saturday.

We are thoroughly enjoying having another little kitteh to cuddle, one of our laps was always empty and jealous :) although because they are still a bit at odds we haven't had the double kitty laps yet, but we know it's just a matter of time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Best Things in Life

Ok, I am very slow with getting pictures off my camera and on to my computer these days, these are from April 14th, our family's Easter gathering.  But better late than never right? 

The best things in life are spending hours with the kidlings, watching them enjoy doing something new and exciting!


First time painting Easter eggs! Followed by an Easter egg hunt (not the ones we painted, as Brooklynn thought :) Pictures of that are pretty much just a blur.

The boys created their own fun, playing their own version of hide-and-go-seek.


And of course, the usual holiday souvenier, colouring courtesy my girls.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Forgotten Foto Friday

I figured in honor of my mom's birthday today I would post a photo LONG forgotten.....probably because it was almost 35 years ago!
Happy Birthday Mom!

Me and my mom. 1977.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Three Sci-fi things I believe (or don't)
1. I believe in the possibility of ghosts. I definitely believe in spirits, whether they are attached to a former life is debatable, but I don't think there is concrete evidence against it.

2. I don't believe in aliens. It is obviously within God's power to create them, but to me that seems like the equivelant of having a secret wife and children, not His style.

3. I kinda believe in psychics....I believe prophesying (seeing the future) is a real gift and that the gift of inexplicable knowledge can come from only one of two powers. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

So, I'm mostly back on track, depsite a little indulgence at some dessert-heavy gatherings, I haven't gained more weight, just working at losing what I did gain now though.  Having just released myself of some busyness at my CR Friday nights I just volunteered for a few temporary tasks that have been keeping my butt glued to a chair/couch so I can write them up on my computer. If only my treadmill had a built in computer!

I intend on writing up a list of all my health boosters I do/have done to work at being healthy not just skinny, and that often assist in losing weight when just low calories and activity alone don't work.  I have a friend who could use a little help with that info but I think I need to remind myself of the importance of these habits - since I'm not as dedicated to them as I once was.  I can't remember if I've ever posted them here but I think I will try to post them here next week anyway. We remember by repetition!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Three things I love about being a Mennonite!

1. Being raised in a God fearing family and community, with Bible-based values and a heavy importance on family, as well as a heritage of saying "yes" to God and "no" to society.

2. Mennonites can cook! Lots of yummy food made with the simplest and fattiest ingredients :) Mmmmm. Here's just some of my favs.
rollkuchen                                       kielke                                           platz

    portzelky                                       shnetchi

 wareneki                                             zbieback

3. While not all Mennonites can sing well, the majority do love to sing, especially in group/family settings acapella style.  We sing our meal-time grace, we sing at gatherings, it's almost like camp-fire singing but no need for a camp fire or a guitar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

I'm thinking I need to bring this post back as a regularly scheduled part of my blog, to add some accountability in my life....if I force myself to blab about what I did or didn't do through the week, maybe I won't behave so badly!

I decided to give in to emotional eating and hormones BIG TIME this week!  Some of it I'm not really willing to talk about, but chalk it up to expectations. It's partly to do with other words I'm a Piggie during MS.... I give up on the scale that week 'due to bloating' but mostly because I feel YUCK for numerous reasons, and then take that as license to not care....even though I do.


It's not just the lack of exercise, or the complete lack of activity all together with my butt essentially glued to the couch.

No. That's not the worst part.

The worst part is the food I stuff in my face. And that food is all the food I've reduced over the last 5 months, that has had a huge impact on my ability to maintain my weight loss without calorie counting.

I stepped on the scale this morning and there may still be a little water retention left but I doubt it. I gained 5 lbs this week. Can't even blame it on Easter in the least, our gathering is next weekend. I know the key is to NOT turn this into self-hatred/punishment because it just snowballs. But I'm very disappointed because I've reignited the cravings I've been able to keep in check until now.

I really do know better than this :( Somehow I have to figure out how my stomach managed to shut off my brain!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Garden Gifts

I may have mentioned my wildly out of control Oregano bush (yes, bush, not plant) and even after giving some of it away still ended up with a lot, so I decided to dry some of it, which I now have in my cupboard, and the rest I used to infuse olive oil and vodka.

I've mentioned before my foray into infusing my own vodka and oil before, I've put garlic in my olive oil before and I've done a variety of vodka flavours; basil, vanilla, lemon, and apple. I've loved the way I've been able to use these interesting infusions of flavour in my cooking and so I thought it would be perfect to use up most of my oregano (didn't quite get it all before the frost last fall). 

So, I did it and ended up with 2 litres of oil and 1.25 litres of vodka. It will take me quite a long time to use that all up myself, so I put out a search party to look for some nifty decanters to put them in so I can give some away as gifts.
my set 

I wasn't sure who would be interested in this chef's experiment of sorts, so I put out an offer on Facebook, kind of like the 'Handmade Pay-it-Forward 2012' challenge, but since I had 4 sets and 2 decanters of just olive oil, I posted that the first 6 people to comment will get a set of the oregano oil and vodka decanters and in the spirit of paying-it-foward, I encouraged them to use them to make a special meal for someone who they don't normally cook for (doesn't have to be me ;).
 olive oil

vodka and olive oil sets

But I only got ONE taker! So I'm putting it up here too.....anyone want a free set or just the olive oil?
For those who wonder how you would use oregano infused vodka or olive oil, here are a few ideas:

Olive Oil                                              Vodka
Salad dressing recipes                         Add to broth
Bread dipping oil                                 Meat glaze
Add to mashed potatoes                      Any reduction sauce
Roast potatoes coating                         Add to salad dressing
Meat marinade                                     Meat marinade/brine
Baste meat on grill

Monday, April 9, 2012

Miscellany Monday Monthly

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Here's my monthly collection of ordinary happenings and moments I don't want to forget.

~ as I look back it seems like most of March I actually kept up with posts about the stuff I want to remember, amazing! :) like anniversary celebrations, the dog bite, girl's nite Big Bang Theory a-thon, seeing Tami's ultrasound, Lent, etc. but of course, there are a few great moments that didn't get a mention that I would really like to remember....

~ my small group through Recovery has been going well, we've had 3 weeks now together and I love how we can be so honest with each other already and how just about everything everyone says makes me think and I'm getting so much out of it as the 'leader'. it's really helping me stay on track with my own recovery and staying accountable!

~ I was able to spend an evening with one of my good friend at her home whom I haven't been able to really visit with since November, other than short chats at Church. got to play with her two kids for a little bit and now they don't get so shy around me at Church :) we had great conversations about her wedding, potential for a small group together, healthy living, the great men God has blessed us with, and more. it's always so lovely getting to spend time with her.

~ there were 2 crazy Fridays in the middle of the month, because both of the other top level leaders (we're only 3 of us) were on vacation and sick, I had to run 2 Fridays all by myself! Luckily the facilitators and Sean realllllllly helped me out, I am so lucky to work with a great team, and I have such a great husband who has been a tremendous help! This did however force the issue that I'm doing a large percent of the work that was only to be temporary and I had to take a step back from some of the things I do. A replacement has yet to be found for one task, with one possible lead, but another was taken over by our director. AND we did finally add a 4th member to the team too, which is awesome because it was always suppose to be at least a team of 4, and we were aiming for a team of 4 plus a ministry director. Things have been a lot easier for me the last 2 Fridays, I'm thankful it's working out because I think I was about to lose it!

~ I received a spontaneous invitation to the Chris Tomlin concert from a friend who found herself with an extra ticket! it was an amazing worship experience, so re-energizing and uplifting, and I'm so glad I got to take it all in with one of my best buds! (thx AGAIN for the ticket :)

~ just before I wrote about our Church's Big Plans, we wrote out template letters to the 3 houses (each) we 'adopted' and hand delivered them on a very warm, sunny afternoon. honestly it was with a tiny bit of trepidation I placed those letters in mail boxes while neighbors poured into their yards to enjoy the weather, but I just kept praying and turns out I don't think anyone even noticed me, save a tiny white poodle :)

~ the rest of the month I took a little more easy, until the last few days anyway, as I have been fighting a cold I've been trying to make sure doesn't get really bad, so maybe that would explain how I've been more caught up on my posts here :) No promises I can keep this up but I'm on my way to 500 posts so I guess that's also been a bit extra motivation to acheive that soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Giving up.....stuff

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to give up stuff for lent, purging all the unnecessary crap I've accumulated in my 34.75 years. 

I went gang-busters at first because I had somewhat started as soon as I heard about this challenge earlier in the year, and so I went at my storage room with a vengeance.  That was the easiest area of my home to purge. 

this is after, forgot to take before
1 large box of give-away stuff and plenty of trash!

The rest has been a little slower going. Partly because of busyness and trying to stay healthy (avoiding viruses and fat), partly because the rest has been a bit harder to part with. There was plenty of old crafting supplies I couldn't sell from my previous sale, great for kid activities, so donating to Church and nieces.


There were still quite a bit of sell-worthy items, will likely do a Facebook garage sale. Sean, the minimalist, was actually a little resistant to some of the things I was trying to purge, but he let me free up a bit of space in our movie and video game collection. His suit collection he did not let me touch :)
I kept postponing going through my craft room. I'm not sure why it's been so hard to give up pretty crafting stuff when I haven't really used it in almost a year! But I did a good job of avoiding this room :( I really need to get down to it and find more of my supplies I could sell or donate, I hope to do this soon and add to an online garage sale.

I actually still ended up close to meeting my goal of 36 bags (mid-sized) though! Here is the breakdown:

Trash = 13 bags
Give Away (re-gift/donate) = 18 bags
Sell = 5 bags

Now, to continue in this spirit and not work so hard at cluttering my life up going forward!
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