Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

I haven't drawn in a while. As much as I love it, it's time all-consuming since I tend to want to start and finish a project within the same day. It can take me anywhere from three to six hours to complete a drawing, which often results in my husband and children being shooed away while I'm in the zone. And I totally go into a drawing zone. Another challenge is that I don't have several hours free at once until close to 9 pm (after the kids are in bed) and by that time I'm exhausted or just want to spend time with Tim.  Regardless, I knew I needed to work on two orders that had been sorely neglected. I finally sat down and worked on the first one for an old friend of mine from England, who's now living in Uganda with her three adopted daughters.

I think, of all my drawings for others, maybe of all my drawings ever, this is my favorite. Not only because of how I captured this little family, but because of what they represent and who they are in the kingdom of God. Gabi (mother to these three girls) is such an inspiration, and her vision for the children of Uganda and this world at large is such a beautiful thing. So it blesses me that somewhere in their home my drawing will have a special place. You can read more about Gabi, her family and her ministry to Ugandan children here. If you'd like a personalized drawing of your own, please contact me at

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thanks JCP!

Per my Facebook status this morning, I've been trying in vain to find a new bathing suit. Enter the same feelings of dread and anxiety that come with trying on jeans (why is denim so unforgiving?!) Let's not forget I've now had two children, so anything made of spandex material is going to want to cling even tighter. But anyways.... here's my experience with the hunt for a bathing suit:
  1. They're expensive. It's amazing how much a bathing suit can cost considering they cover so little skin. Thankfully I'm not in the market for a bikini which would make it even more of an injustice.
  2.  Most one pieces/tankinis seem to have a weird fit. All the material seems to want to congregate in the middle of my torso which makes me look squat. One pieces in particular seem to just cover skin rather than lift and shape things. It's like they decided that "Anyone buying a one piece these days has probably given up on trying to look nice in a bathing suit, so let's just throw some fabric on a couple of spaghetti straps and call it a day."
  3. The fabric prints for bikinis are always fun and diverse. The prints for one pieces and tankinis are all pretty generic and unexciting, at least for my taste (such as these or these). 
Before I go any further, let me just point out that I do have a bathing suit. I have a few bikinis (now in retirement) as well as  a black one piece that I've had for years. Did you hear me? A plain, no frills, literally up to my neck black one piece. Sure, it's modest (which is what I'm going for). It's the epitome of modest (unless you want to compare it to these bad boys from the 1920s):

But the thought of wearing that old, worn out black bathing suit at the cottage this summer was just ... no. It needed to be put into retirement with the bikinis. So after looking online and trying some on at Target, and Marshall's and who knows where else, I finally brought Tim with me in hopes he would bring me some good luck (in the non-supersitious sense). Last time I shopped for jeans with him, I swear the first pair I tried on fit perfectly. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. So I thought his presence might have a similar effect today. And BAM it totally did. We're at JCP (whose new prices are just so great for us poor folk) and it's the best selection I've found so far and lit-er-ally the last bathing suit I grab to bring into the changing room ends up being the one. And the print is so me! Check it out!

I love things with little cherries on it. But little strawberries? Yes please, even cuter. The fit is amazing and totally flattering. The bottoms were a little skimpy, so I matched the top with this pinky-orangey bottom instead and it's just... so perfect. I mean, I love this bathing suit. And that NEVER HAPPENS. I haven't loved a bathing suit since the one I had when I was six that had a little cream soda on the front with a straw and gem-encrusted sprinkles. OH, and did I mention the price?! $25 folks. Incredible considering the average price of a tankini is $50.

How great is that?
Pretty great I think.
I mean, in the world of bathing suit shopping
Thanks JCP. I heart you.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Homemade Larabars

I've never had a Larabar. But Tim had one once and raved about it because it was only four ingredients and it tasted "just like pecan pie." Probably because it was the Pecan Pie flavored one. Anyways, when I brought home two slabs of date paste from a Mediterranean Market store near my parent's house, he wanted to try recreating them at home. This is what he came up with (they are a delish little snack btw):

1/2 pound of date paste
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Grape Nuts cereal (optional)

Put the date paste and nuts in a bowl and knead together with your hands. You really need to work the nuts into the date paste, so don't be shy about getting right in there. Once its well mixed, flatten it out on a cutting board and sprinkle with Grape Nuts cereal, lightly pressing them into the paste mixture. Put into refrigerator and let them set. Cut into snack size pieces (or just keep it one huge bar that you intend to eat in a single sitting; no judgement here). Use a wet spatula to lift the bars off the cutting board if they stick (putting them in the fridge first should help with this). Wrap in wax paper and store in fridge.

*So true story - Tim has been mistakenly referring to the Larabar as a LUNA Bar, which is a whole other product. A product that's "created by women, for women." Every package is labeled with the tag line, "The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women." Needless to say, sharing that my husband is a very vocal enthusiast of said product made for some good storytelling. However, he realized his error before I published the previous (witty) entry, and so you are left instead with this very matter of fact post. But while we're on the topic, can I just say that creating a food "by women for women" seems a bit unnecessary. Is there really such a gaping hole in the market that a group of women needed to get together to create a nutrition bar with key "feminine-specific" ingredients such as.....? Baffling.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Adjustments

I swear I won't keep posting about my kids. I try not to be one dimensional on here and if you know me in "real life" you know that I'm not known for going on about my kids all day (right?!?).  But for now, here's another post about parenthood.

On Adjustments for Jack:

A month or two ago we took the side off of Jack's bed, converting it into a toddler bed. We felt he was ready for it. Plus, when we go up to Ontario next month to stay at the cottage we figured it would be easier to have him sleep in a normal bed than have to worry about bringing the pack and play. The first few weeks were smooth sailing: he never got out of bed (amazing!) and he seemed to really enjoy the fact that he had the ability to climb in and out of his bed during the day. Then the light bulb went off in his head that if he could get in and out during the day, that also included nap times and bed time! Freedom! Except it was really frustrating for us (and slightly creepy if you remember this).  Last night he got out of bed at midnight and then again at 5:45 this morning. And finally I'd had enough and Tim put the side back up and that was that. It was time to admit defeat for now and wait until he's a little older and more comprehensive. Jack took his revoked freedom with an air of grace when he saw his crib after breakfast. It might be a different story once he realizes he's trapped in their for bedtimes.

On Adjustments for Moses:

As you may remember, despite my best efforts, I had to stop breastfeeding. It still bothers me but I'm thankful that the formula has transformed Moses temperament as well as his skinny little legs into chubby ones. That said, I've never been comfortable with the nutritional makeup of soy formula (or formula in general). The fact that corn syrup is the first ingredient was enough to make me search out alternatives. I settled on making my own (what?!) after finding this recipe which looked pretty well-balanced to me. I won't use it exclusively as its pricey to make. But it's a good supplement to the store bought stuff. The other reason I won't be using it exclusively is because if I was caught feeding him the "homemade brew" in public, people would probably think I was feeding him dish water. I mean....let's not beat around the bush here. The stuff is absolutely a grayish green color (a result of the multi-vitamin). Don't judge. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Boys and their Nan.

 This photograph is so honest, and I love it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Moses: 6 Months

Moses is such a joy. This baby has captured my heart in such a special way. Our relationship is a sweet and simple one, filled with lots of kisses and searching out ways to make him squeal with laughter. He's a happy camper 99.9% of the time, rarely complaining and always obliging. Most of the time he just wants you to look his way so he can smile at you and show off his dimples. He seems to have found his place as the quiet counterpart to his very vocal and vibrant older brother.

I am so deeply thankful for who you are.
You are such a sweetheart.
My calm and my comfort.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, all of your days.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Garden

I love that I'm a child of the 80s and can still recall listening to vinyl records on my little Fisher Price record player. Some of my favorite albums were Raffi (of course), Sharon Lois and Bram (from The Elephant Show) and Anne Murray's "There's a Hippo in the Bathtub." Clearly, it set me up for my great taste in music today. When we'd go visit my grandmother in Sudbury, Ontario, we'd almost always put on her Sandra Beech "Inch by Inch" record. While I loved the songs, I also really loved the album cover. How can you not feel happy just looking at it? So anyways - and here's where I get to the main point - I think it began my love of sunflowers and my desire to have a garden with a sea of flowers as tall as me.

But then I discovered how much work was involved in creating said garden and how very much I disliked weeding and my dreams of seas of smiling sunflowers were dashed from reality. Until recently! Of course, we're nowhere near flowers up to my shoulders, but thanks to Audrey (our friend who lives above us), Tim, and my brother-in-law Dave, our front garden is slowly coming into itself and is totally making it look like some serious gardeners live here when only one (Audrey) actually does.

I have yet to plant sunflowers but I already have the perfect spot for them:

Jack loves watering the garden. So we send him out there every morning at 6 am and every evening at 8 pm, all by himself, to water the plants*.  As you can see in the foreground, we have totally failed our now completely dead grass. The only green things there are the weeds (at this point, it seems fruitless to pull them out). Our plan is to overhaul it in September. Until then we are stuck with crunchy "parking lot" grass as I like to call it. 

For now, we're just thankful that people's eyes are diverted from the grass and into our lush green garden. All that's missing now is a gnome (and sunflowers).

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