Around Here Right Now

It’s a rainy, cold afternoon while I’m writing this, and we’re all cozy inside. Ben’s making apple crisp, and we’re hoping for snow. He made the mistake of telling Everett we’d go to the cabin when the snow melts – he meant in spring, but Everett is just pumped, because the first snowfall is disappearing, so he’s ready to pack up and go to the lake. We’ve been trying to explain the situation to him, but it’s not making any sense to him, so it would simplify our lives quite a bit if we’d just get more snow!;)

I always have a running list of things our family is currently enjoying, and when it gets long enough, I do one of these posts to share our favourites with you! (Affiliate links are included for your convenience) This month’s offerings are about as random as they get, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone!:)

What We’re Watching: Timeless

Ben and I have really been enjoying this show on Netflix for the last couple of months. Sadly, there’s only one season, and the show was cancelled in spring, but fans raised such an uproar that season two will be filmed in 2018!

The story line involves a stolen time machine, and the bad guys are trying to go back in time to change American history, so the good guys have to take the backup time machine to chase after them, and do whatever they can to ensure history stays the same. Every episode covers a different event in history, from Lincoln’s assassination to the first landing on the moon to the Lone Ranger to the Hindenberg disaster. Because something always goes wrong, and small details of history end up changing in each episode, it’s making us look up these different historical events to brush up on the details. There is some violence, but for the most part, we’ve been impressed with how clean the show is.

Also, if Lucy could please just shave her head and make me a wig with her hair, it would pretty much be my dream come true. I think I commented on her great hair almost every single episode, and Ben was wondering what was up with this hair obsession.

But now we’re finished season one, and I’m sad, and it’s a long time until season two comes out!

What We’re Learning: Historical Fiction

Speaking of history, Anika has been lost in library books for the last week. She came across a historical fiction series called “The Royal Diaries” at the library which includes many of the famous princesses from a wide range of time periods. There are 23 books in the series, and she’s enjoyed every one she’s read. My favourite thing about it, besides just seeing her enjoy good stories, is that it’s reinforcing everything she’s learned in history.When Anika talks about her favourite characters in history, and gets excited about books which shed more light on the background and context to these stories, it makes me happy to see how learning can be fun, and come naturally and enjoyably, instead of just being about dry textbooks.

What We’re Eating: Stir-fry That’s not Stir-fry

I love eating stir-fry, but I don’t like making it. Does anyone else out there feel that way?! I like meals I can stick in the oven and forget about while I clean up the kitchen. While browsing Pinterest for some meal planning inspiration this month, I came across this delicious-looking picture:

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I suddenly thought, “Why on earth have I been dealing with a frying pan?!” I love roasted vegetables, so I’ve ditched the stir-fry, and do this instead. Easiest meal ever – I get out all the veggies that need to be used up in the fridge, chop them up, spread them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle avocado oil over everything, and stick it in the oven.

And then I’m free to get the kitchen cleaned up before the meal, so afterwards, all we have to do is put our dishes in the dishwasher, and pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day. So easy, and very delicious!

What I’m Reading: The Whole-Brained Child

I’m slowly working my way through “The Whole-Brained Child”, and it’s really good! I don’t have tons of time for reading, but this book is a great fit, because the chapters are pretty short, and the principles are easy to apply. A friend recommended it to me, and her description had me intrigued. She said it was a book about helping your child learn how to deal with strong emotions, and bridging the gap between explosive emotions and logical thinking. Because children’s brains are not finished developing, it does not come naturally for them to think logically and use reason in the midst of an angry tantrum or hurt feelings. They get swept away in whatever emotion they are experiencing in the moment, and so this book provides helpful tools for connected the right and left sides of the brain, or the “upstairs/downstairs” parts of the brain, as they refer to it in the book, helping to bring about more balance and feelings of calm and control.

Even though I’m not very far into the book, I’m already helping it very helpful, and highly recommend it! While getting this blog post ready, I stumbled across this “Refrigerator Sheet” which summarizes some of the helpful points, in case you want to check out a bit of what it has to say!

What I’m Saving $ On: Restore

Last year, I shared about this fantastic product our family uses on a daily basis. It restores gut lining in a way that’s far superior to any kind of probiotics out there, because it doesn’t just put probiotics into your stomach, it actually helps your body to start producing them on it’s own. All of us noticed a dramatic improvement in our digestion when we started taking it, and our girls’ issues with gluten have improved to the point where they are able to enjoy gluten occasionally, although we don’t want their digestive systems to get out of balance again, so we make it more of a treat instead of the norm.

In the past, we ordered Restore from the Restore4Life website, which ended up costing $130 with exchange, tax, duty, and shipping. A bottle lasts for about 1 1/2 months for our family of five, so it’s pricey, but something we feel is important to keep taking.

This last month, I was extremely happy to find a site that sells it for only $100! I felt rich with my $30 savings, so I wanted to pass this info on to you, as I know some people have been ordering Restore since I shared about it on my blog last summer. You can get a 5% discount using this link.

If you’re interested in learning more about it, there are some great videos available here, as well as pictures of what cells look like before and after using Restore.

What We’re Anticipating: Mother Daughter Camp

I’m so excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Mother Daughter Camp at Red Rock Bible Camp in January! It’s been a long time since we’ve gone to camp in winter, and it’s such a great retreat, so I’m really glad to be part of it this year. I’m also very excited about the sessions I’ll be doing, and will have more to share here on my blog as I prepare for the retreat.

To find out more about Mother Daughter Camp, head over here.

What I’m Listening to: “Overwhelmed”

I listened to this fantastic podcast on the weekend. I was feeling discouraged on Saturday, because we’ve had a ton of sickness at our house, and I haven’t been feeling completely healthy for about two months now. My naturopath is trying to get me back on track, but in the meantime, I’ve been struggling to keep a good attitude at all times. I realize there are many, many people with bigger problems than mine, but I also know that wherever we’re at in the moment can feel huge and consuming.

This podcast was exactly what I needed – super encouraging, and such a gentle reminder that when we focus on Jesus, our circumstances might not change, but our perspective always does.

 

 

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Quote Love

Every couple of months, I like to round up all the best quotes I’ve come across, and share them here. There’s something about combining beautiful images with inspiring words that gets me every time! Here are my latest favourites:

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Any quotes you’ve been loving lately? Please share!:)

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Summer Reading

I just received a package from Amazon full of beautiful, beautiful books, just in time for me to start enjoying them on our week of vacation! I can’t wait to dig in.;) Here’s what I’ll be reading for the rest of the summer:

Boundaries1) Boundaries

I actually ordered this one already, but in my excitement over a lower price, somehow I failed to notice that it was the miniature edition! Oops. But it gave me a great overview, and was a very fast read, since it’s just a summary of the complete book, and I can’t believe how much even the mini book has been teaching me.

I’m starting to see that enforcing personal boundaries has been a huge issue for most of my life, and has led to a lot of stress and negative habits. As a middle child, I’ve always struggled with people-pleasing tendencies, and have a hard time being honest about what I really want, without feeling like I’m being rude or difficult. This book is helping me to see where I need to be a lot more honest, and make choices for my own health and well-being, without feeling like I’m being selfish.

 

 

Scary Close2) Scary Close

We’re on a relationship theme here! I love anything written by Donald Miller – he is such a fantastic storyteller, and I’ve heard really good things about this book. I would have wanted to read it anyway, but am even more excited about it now, because of the things I’ve been learning from reading Boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

73) 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

This one has been on my Wish List the longest. It goes along nicely with my purging goal for this year, as it focuses on learning to live without some things. I’m intrigued by Jen Hatmaker’s very intentional effort to dig into this topic together with her family.

 

 

 

 

 

Tidying4) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

More purging inspiration! This book has been popping up everywhere, and I can’t wait to find out why everyone loves it so much. I’ve read that you should not read it while on vacation, because you will be itching to get home and start tossing out your belongings, so I’ll save this one until we get back from the lake!

But I do have to admit – even simply owning this book has already motivated me! I keep walking through my house, thinking, “I should quickly grab those things and tidy up a bit – it’s pretty magical!”

It could be this book that enables me to purge 850 more items, and reach my goal: 2015 items sent out of the house in 2015!!

 

I’ve had blog readers ask me in the past, “What’s with all the self-help books?! Why don’t you read some fiction?” And really, I passionately love reading fiction. Too passionately. It makes me incredibly grumpy to read fiction, because I don’t want anyone to talk to me at all, until I’m finished the book. I don’t stop reading until 2am. And then I’m even more grumpy the next day, because I’m so tired. I used to save reading fiction for on vacation, as a fun way of relaxing, but then I realized that it made me unpleasant to be on vacation with. So now, I pretty much don’t read fiction, except aloud to the girls.:)

What have you been reading lately? I love hearing about good books, so please share your favorites!!

Some Good Reads

Hello, Friends! How was your weekend? Ours was somehow full but also relaxing, and I feel all filled up with social happiness – so blessed by all the awesome people God has brought into our life!!

I also feel full of things I’m learning right now – God’s teaching me a bunch of stuff, but I feel as though it’s still marinating, and it’s not time to write about it yet! So today, I’m going to share stuff other people have been writing. I have a Pinterest board called “Good Reads” where I collect all the great things I come across online, and there have been a bunch of good ones lately….

The Day My Son Gave Up On Me – on taking the opportunity right now to spend time with your kids, instead of putting them off until a more convenient time

Why I’m Back to Counting Daily Gifts“Doubt fades and trust grows as I begin to recognize His presence, even in the minutiae of my everyday.”

How to Live an Exceptional Life, Even When Life Doesn’t Feel Exceptional “…Living an exceptional life isn’t just an opportunity that comes along once in a lifetime. It’s an invitation that awaits us every single day.”

How to Quit Sugar in Five Days – Wish I’d had these tips seven years ago when I was quitting sugar!

I Miss the Village – Oh, what to say about this one?! Got a taste of “village” life at camp, and now I’m ruined for normal life! “I miss the village I never had. The one with mothers doing the washing side by side, clucking and laughing hysterically, tired in body but quick in spirit. We’d know each other so well: annoying one another from time to time, but never staying mad long because the truth is, we need each other.”

On Having a Son “He snuggled against my body and wrapped his beautiful hand around my finger. I kissed his little head over and over, tears of joy filling my eyes. At that moment, I knew I couldn’t imagine life any other way, and I didn’t want to.” Ahhh!! It’s only a matter of weeks….:)

And now I have a baby room to put together!! I’ll be back soon with pictures.:)

Anika

 

 

 

Around Here Right Now

Right now, I’m loving…

Her shirts tucked in (always!!!!)

shirtAt first, I tried to talk her out of it, but she was so insistent, I gave up, and now it’s just the way it’s done!:)

Fresh strawberries with Greek yogurt

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Reading fiction again!

I’ve stayed away from it for years, because it usually results in me staying up far too late at night to finish a book, or getting grumpy at my family because I don’t want to talk to people – I just want to read my book!!!

But after my entertainment fast ended, I watched TV every night for a week, and Ben said, “Can we please do something other than watch TV? Let’s sit on the couch and read!” I have a hard time spending an entire evening reading nonfiction – I like doing that in one-chapter-at-a-time chunks. So for the love of my husband, I went and got some fiction to read. It’s a lesson in self-control and getting to bed at a decent hour, but it is very nice to sit with Ben on the couch, reading our books.:)

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Individual snack-size hummus!

hummusSomeone out there completely understands my snacking needs! We’ve bought many, many tubs of hummus that don’t get finished before the expiry date, and have to get chucked. But these are perfect.

hummusOrganizing my new homeschool cupboard:

cupboardWe’ve tried to jam all of our supplies into one little kitchen cupboard for much too long. We could never find what we were looking for. Now everything has a place, and we don’t have to use the “cram-it-all-in-and-slam-the-door-shut-really-quickly-before-it-all-falls-out” method.:)

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These articles on happiness, and why making our children happy should not be our goal:

Happiness is Not a Goal:

“Happiness is not a goal. Happiness is a natural response to a well-ordered life.

It’s better to ask the question, when in your life have you felt most happy?

For me, it was often when I felt I was being used in some good and powerful way, beyond myself – which was always connected to feeling like I was in the service of love.”

Happiness is not a goal. Happiness is the natural response to a well-ordered life.

It’s better to ask the question, when in your life have you felt most happy?

For me it was often when I felt I was being used in some good and powerful way, beyond myself- which always was connected to feeling like I was in service of love.

– See more at: http://www.wellgroundedsite.com/2014/04/happiness-not-a-goal/#sthash.e0YQdGfI.dpuf

Happiness is not a goal. Happiness is the natural response to a well-ordered life.

It’s better to ask the question, when in your life have you felt most happy?

For me it was often when I felt I was being used in some good and powerful way, beyond myself- which always was connected to feeling like I was in service of love.

– See more at: http://www.wellgroundedsite.com/2014/04/happiness-not-a-goal/#sthash.e0YQdGfI.dpuf

I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical:

“Parents do not make childhood magical. Abuse and gross neglect can mar it, of course, but for the average child, the magic is something inherent to the age. Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical. Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical. Getting lost in your toys on the floor of your family room is magical. Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pockets is magical. Walking with a branch is magical….

A childhood without Pinterest crafts can be magical. A childhood without a single vacation can be magical. The magic we speak of and so desperately want our children to taste isn’t of our creation, and therefore is not ours to dole out as we please. It is discovered in quiet moments by a brook or under the slide at the park, and in the innocent laughter of a life just beginning.”

I wish you many simple, enjoyable moments in your day!