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:


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 upĀ 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.






My Family in the Forest

We were able to spend some time together as a family at Red Rock Bible Camp this last weekend, and it was just beautiful.

IMG_1131It’s always bittersweet to go back – we love it there so much, and it’s fun to see Anika visiting all her favorite spots, telling Kaylia all the stories of things she was too young to remember. It would have been amazing to see Kaylia and Everett growing up there, too, and yet we know we left at the right time. We love our life the way it is, and feel so blessed, but there’s just something about camp!

AnikamushroomKayliamossEverettThis was the first trail we walked on after moving out there when Anika was three years old, and I’ll never forget the sight of her little fingers stretched out over a pile of deer droppings, calling out excitedly, “Look, Mommy – grapes!!”

Oh, the treasures you find in the forest….


Weekend Favorites: Filling Our Gaping Hole!!

She’s home and back where she belongs! It’s a good feeling.:)

AnikaBut she says she hardly missed us at all, which didn’t make me sad – it made me think she’s growing up, and that’s a good thing!

Kaylia We got to stick around for a bit to enjoy the parents’ program and a BBQ, and it felt kind of like old times, and kind of not. I think that’s a good thing, too!

caterpillarhuggingB & KNext item on our summer to-do list: Vacation Bible School! What’s on your list?

Weekend Favorites: Back at Camp

Hey, everybody! I hope you had a beautiful, relaxing weekend!

Our family headed out to Red Rock Bible Camp, to relive some memories out there. It’s been almost two years since we moved, but I’ve never gotten over camp winters. I love it out there. Everyone is ready to play outside and celebrate winter, no matter what the weather.

IMG_8883 IMG_8880 IMG_8885 IMG_8872


It was so good to be back. I think even Copper was happy to have us there. You can see it on his face, can’t you?;)

Navigating Summer

What a beautiful weekend. One of my favorite things about this new life of ours is that time doesn’t seem to rush by so fast. When we were living at camp, we would blink, and it would be August.

Living in Niverville makes summer feel about three times as long, in the most positive way imaginable. I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Unless we visit camp. Then I cry. Obviously, my emotions are at war with themselves, and just need a little time to get things sorted out.


This weekend was filled with wonderful things.

We picked flowers:

We worked on our deck:

And we enjoyed some time with people from camp:


The more time we spend here, the more I realize how much “normal life” (whatever that actually is), is a balancing act. How much time do you run around socializing, and how much time do you need to stay home and regroup? Or just do some housework for a change?

At camp, the whole summer was busy, but it was all busy in the same direction – you just give’er till the end of August, and then you collapse a little bit.

Now we have choices, and I am starting to understand how tricky it is to be intentional with time.

So good luck to all of you as you navigate through your wonderful summer in the best way for you and your loved ones.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a special little announcement about my next blog series!

It’s Only Fun When You Decide It’s Fun

My goodness, what a beautiful long weekend. Who wouldn’t have fun on a weekend like this?

When I heard my brother-in-law say, “It’s only fun when you decide it’s fun,” he wasn’t talking to me, but he sure could have been.

It was a beautiful weekend, but it was a hard weekend. This is the second time we’ve gone back to camp since moving away, and it’s just hard.

There was a church service at the camp on Sunday morning, open to any cottagers or campers in the Whiteshell for the weekend, so my family went to it, like usual.

Except this time, we weren’t at camp, welcoming them there. We were the ones attending for one brief hour on a Sunday morning.

I always loved Sunday mornings at camp. And when we climbed the hill to the chapel, and I saw the view spread out before me, I kinda lost it.

When the worship team started singing, and all those summers of memories hit strong, there was no way I could keep myself from crying. There was a big part of me that was very tempted to slip into thinking, “Why did we ever leave?”

Because when you leave, it’s really easy to only remember the perfect stuff, and it’s easy to chuck reason out the window, and just wallow in the fact that something made you happy, and you can’t have it anymore.

But it’s only fun when you decide it’s fun!

Life is fun. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves in Niverville. Life is very good here. And life was very good at camp.

I get to choose what I’m going to think about, and how I’m going to remember the good times without feeling sorry for myself that they’re over, and things are different now.

I asked Ben once if he was glad we left camp. He said, “I’m not glad we left, but we needed to.”

And I’m happy. But sometimes I need to decide that I’m happy, because change is hard.

Anika sat on a bench at camp, looking like she was about to cry. Her friends have also moved away from camp, and there was no one there to play with. It’s not the way it used to be. She came to me, asking if we could leave.

As we drove back to my parents’ cabin, past all those trees I know so well, and around the curves of the highway we’ve all memorized, I was choosing again and again not to wallow and regret.

We got back to the cabin and my parents saved the day. My dad was blowing up Canada Day balloons, and my mom was getting ready for a party.

Anika quickly forgot her sadness, and ran for the streamers.

Because it’s fun when you decide it’s fun! Oh, I hope we get really good at choosing!

*I wrote this post, and then I read this post, which is quite related, and plain fantastic.

I celebrate creativity and applaud imagination in my children mostly because the ability to create something new–to dream up a different way of doing something–means they are more guaranteed to find happiness in life. The more they create and practice building something from nothing or changing not-so-great into fabulous, the more likely they are to use creative strategies to develop solutions to challenges in their life.

It is all a choice! I hope your week is filled with wonderful, creative choices and decisions!