Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Things you say when you have a toddler...

Tonight at the dinner table, which of these comments were made?
1. "C- we do not throw forks."
2. "Stop stabbing yourself with your fork"
3. "You can't drink your milk with a fork"
4. All of the above.

Not only were all of these said, we then followed this craziness with a round of Beethoven's 5th to the words "get in the tub"... and later started singing about bananas and potatoes... I think we need more sleep.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diaper Drama

I am an honest person, I tell it like I see it, and I'll call my friends out when they're putting on a front and pretending to be someone they're not. I've been writing here (sporadically) for a year now, and I guess it's only fair that I remain honest about myself.

Now that I've put that out there, I'm going to talk about the real reason for this post.

I want to talk about diapers.

I know, boooring...(or groooosss) whatever. I don't want to talk about what goes in them, but about the mothers and families living in poverty who sometimes have to choose between diapers and putting food on their tables.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadian moms have had to choose between clean diapers and putting food on the table? In a study done by Huggies, some mothers admit cleaning out used diapers and putting them back on their children. The Huggies site says:
"Moms struggling against diaper need are more likely to miss work or school, stay home when they need to go out, or keep their babies out of daycare—which usually requires a full day's supply of disposable diapers. Without enough diapers for routine changes, moms feel distressed and find parenting even more difficult."

These nameless, faceless mothers might seem very far away from where you live, but I want to tell you that they are closer than you expect. And I want to tell you about a way that we can help.

Huggies has a program called "Every Little Bottom", and the purpose of this program is to collect diapers for those families who have to choose between diapers and food. This year, "every little bottom" will be sending almost 500,000 diapers to food banks across Canada, and they want to raise awareness about this issue.

This is very personal for me, because last year when my husband enrolled in Teacher's College, we had very carefully budgeted our expenses so that both he and I could go to school. Early in 2010, we learned that a donor who had pledged us $5000 had backed out, and we wouldn't be receiving any more money (we had received $1500 in the fall but were still counting on $3500). This problem meant that I needed to use the food bank for 3 months so that my little son and myself would have food. The food bank was great in that area, but with C being 15 months old, he was still in diapers, and the diapers I received from the food bank lasted us maybe a week if I used them sparingly.
I didn't have money to buy cloth diapers (as I didn't have money for meat or milk) and laundry was done as infrequently as I could because it cost almost $5 to do a full load (wash and dry). This program will help families like ours be able to use the little money they have on other necessities.

I found out about this program through the Yummy Mummy Club, and some of the comments written on their article about every little bottom said that people in need should just use cloth diapers:
"You can cloth diaper a child from newborn to potty training for just a few hundred dollars, and those diapers can be used for subsequent children. Environmental issues aside, disposable diapers are a luxury and i hate to think children are going without food for their parents convenience."

I'm sorry, but for a family who is living from paycheck to paycheck, where is that few hundred dollars supposed to come from? After living like that for a time, I've come to have a lot more respect and compassion for the families who are forced into choices they would rather not make. (such as feeding formula because the mom needs to work, or using disposable diapers, or going to the food bank.)

This comment from ymc_candace put my thoughts perfectly:
"Disposable diapers are not a luxury, they are often a necessity. Most daycares do not allow cloth diapers. Additionally, if you are financially strapped there's a good chance you don't have a washer/dryer at home. Which presents another hurdle...most public laundromats do not allow cloth diapers to be washed for hygenic reasons. Then there are the mothers that are transient, escaping from abusive relationships. These mothers would find it difficult to use cloth diapers. There are countless reasons why cloth is not always practical. Local food banks, shelters and aid agencies could probably name more than I could ever.

There is a time and place for the cloth vs. disposable debate and I don't think this is it. I will say this though, I think that helping people is never wrong...either way.

I appreciate that you'd like to help people in need and I do believe there are many mothers who would love to use cloth instead of disposable if their circumstances permit. I'm sure your local food bank would not refuse a donation of cloth diapers should you be so inspired."

This program was not created to force people to buy more Huggies diapers, it was created to help out families like mine that don't have the ability to choose cloth. Maybe families who receive help now will give help down the road, and maybe some families will be able to choose cloth for their next child (we're hoping to use cloth with our next beans) but right now, let's help people where they have needs.

That's all I'm asking.

Every Little Bottom 2.png


Pray Without Ceasing

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today was a day when I took that passage literally.
From going to bed last night until tonight, B and I have been praying for a wonderful friend of ours.

I'm not going to go into details, but I do want to say that we have an amazing God who knows all things and has control of all things. Earlier today I turned on the car radio, and the local Christian radio host was commenting on how God answers our prayers in ways that we don't always expect.

I know that our God is not here to complete my life checklist, or fulfill my wishes like a genie. I know that in my head, and I'm learning in my heart what it means to have the answer "No" or "Wait. This is not yet time." I also know that today, when our praying was focused on a family court custody battle, the last thing I wanted was for God to give one of those answers. I wanted a yes, and I wanted it now! I wanted God's will to be done, but only if His will included my friend winning her case. I was putting God in a box. Thinking that because I see my request as a good thing, it must mean that God was going to make it happen. But there was no lightning on command, no "instant message" in response to my prayers. And I don't take that as a bad thing. I take that to mean that God is in control, and whatever His will is, will happen IN HIS TIME. So I'm learning. I'm not very good at the waiting thing, but I'm watching my friend, and if she can trust in a time like this, I'm going to trust God too.

The peace that I have seen in my friend throughout this crazy stressful week shows me her faith in God. It shows me the power that an army of prayer warriors can have. And tonight we celebrated with ice cream. Not because of a verdict (which will come in a few weeks) but because the Lord has been her strength in good times and in bad. She knows this, and I'm learning it anew because of the faith she shows in every breath of every day.

My dear friend. You are an amazing mother to four kids whom I've been blessed to grow to love. I know that you have left a legacy of love in these children that will bless them for decades. I thank God for you and for allowing me to serve you these past few months. Because of you I will never be the same. Thank you.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

I was just about to head to bed, and as I was turning of the lights, I heard one of the best noises...

C was laughing. in his sleep.

There is no better sound in my mind than the laughter of my little man...

So goodnight, and sweet dreams! I know mine will be.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Crafty Christmas Ideas

I love making presents...I don't like going out, being given a price range and buying something that adds up to exactly the dollar amount of gift I will be getting in return...(it's boring to me. I want a challenge! )
I like to give from the heart, which means that my presents don't always have dollar amounts, or at least can't be found in any department stores. So I've found some ideas that started the "creative monkeys" in my brain on what I hope will not be a totally crazy creative rampage...

At Feels Like Home, I found a list called 10 Handmade Christmas Gifts You Can Make Now where I found this amazing wreath and cute little ornaments. Instructions for the wreath and other crafts can be found at Countdown to Christmas: Crafts, Food and DIY Gifts ( I especially love their brownie tree and advent calendar)

As for food craftiness...
I'm not a huge Oreo fan, but these Oreo Pops could be decorated in so many different ways! Change the colour of the chocolate to orange, and make pumpkin pops...or dip the pop fully in one colour, and then half in another, and you're on your way to making fun Christmas ornament looking pops... Endless possibilities! (well at least as many possibilities as there are round objects to mimic)

Wait, should I keep posting? I don't want to spoil the surprise of all the gift ideas I have floating in my head...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Craziness

In 5 weeks and 4 days Christmas will be here... sorry to remind those of you who haven't started shopping (I am included in this, but only because my giftee hasn't provided a wish list yet) but there are (5 weeks means 7 times 5... which is 35...plus 3...) 38 shopping days until Christmas!

And it's going to be crazy.
At least in chef mom's mind it will be. Let's run down the list of all the people we need to visit:


-Mama T (and all the in-laws... and all the dogs)
-Grandma T (oops, this reminds me I need to send her a thank-you card for C's birthday present...)
-Aunt L and Uncle V (while trying to keep C's hands off all the un-child-proof things)
-Elvis and Kiwi, and C's betrothed...and MAYBE if we're lucky all Kiwi's family (like a third family for us...I would have said second, but I've got B's family for that)
-Joey! (I don't know how, but I really want to see her)


-The annual "Thyristes Atun" family celebration(and ESPECIALLY Opa Thyristes Atun)...that's a fun one to decode!
-Grandpa S and Grandma S
-The "On-the-Corner" family because my parents were crazy and decided to get married 2 days after Christmas, so we are DOUBLY guilt-ridden to make them a priority...

And guess what?! We only have 5 days in which to do this all!!
I'm guessing we'll put about 2000 km on the little-white-car (which is going to cost us about a million dollars in gas the way the prices are going up) and I'm going to need a vacation when I get back from this vacation...

So here's an article talking about how to prevent insanity over the holidays... Maybe I just need to eat a lot of sugar...


Knife image from here.
Gingerbread man image from here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

~Giving Update~

15 days have come and gone already in this 30 Days of Giving Challenge, and I wanted to give an update on our journey.

Some of the ways we've given:
-Operation Christmas Child: we filled 2 boxes and I wrote a letter to each of the kids, and we actually sent them in!! (last year we got 2 boxes but never filled them)
***If you want to give to OCC, This week is National Collection Week so hurry!!***
-visited a friend who is going through a tough custody battle and gave her the gift of a listening ear and unconditional love
-donated my time and talents at a nutrition program for the YMCA (I finished up 5 weeks of cooking lessons for kids)
-made a cute baby blanket and "Welcome" cake for my cousin's brand new baby girl
-gave my little man a full afternoon of "Mommy time" and we got his hair cut, went out for ice cream, and played and tickled and read whatever C wanted
-used my coupons to get extra cleaning supplies (super cheap) for a friend who just started a house-cleaning business
-brought coffee to my amazing daycare provider to make her Friday afternoon a little easier
-baked treats and delivered them to friends
-I helped at church in the nursery
-B helped do powerpoint for both services on Sunday
-donated new toy for a toy drive at a local shelter

More plans for the rest of the month:
-donating gently used clothing to the Salvation Army
-spending quality time with my grandpa who has recently suffered a few strokes
-finishing and donating baby blankets to an organization called Sunshine Hugs or Blankets for Canada that will send them to Interval House or Morningstar Mission (both in Napanee)
-donating unused yarn to volunteers for Sunshine Hugs to make other items including dish rags, hats, scarves, mitts, and afghans
-giving time and organization to our family by de-cluttering our home
-getting an early start on my Christmas baking, and bringing some treats over to the Bethel Houses (a program started by my church to help men recovering from addictions)
-using this list from our church to help us find more ways to get involved in volunteering locally
-listening to the promptings of the still small voice to give even when I don't think I have time and especially when I have to step outside my comfort zone

Do you have any more ideas on how I can give?


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quivers Full...

Lately I've been reading a lot about large families and the "quiverfull" perspective. And I like what I've been reading.
The article that got me started is called "The Case Against Birth Control" and it is very well supported by scripture. I'd like to take a look at some of the medical evidence backing some of the claims, but the spiritual evidence was overwhelming to B and myself.

The Source of both these links was a blog that's really been educational, called "Raising Arrows". The Blog has a few articles that I really enjoyed, namely "Becoming Quiverfull" (parts 1-4) the whole section called "Large Family Living", and an article called "Enjoying Your Quiverfull" which talks about having peace in whatever number of children God blesses you with, whether it's none, sixteen, or somewhere in the middle.

I have a full quiver today, and if the Lord blesses us with more, than we will raise however many blessings he gives us.


*I'm hoping to make this a regular topic as I go through my own research into what being quiverfull will mean for our family. Thank you for any insight you have about this issue.

Link Loves of the day: Giving Ideas!!

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
-Micah 6:8

I found this image on the Etsy shop for We are THAT Family when I was doing some research for ideas on giving this month. The entire profits from this painting (and anything else in their Etsy shop) go to an organization called "The Mercy House" which provides nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible teaching, and job skills for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya.

For those who want your Christmas presents to last more than one day, check out the World Vision Christmas Catalogue to send gifts like chickens or school supplies that will support needy communities. Shop for gifts from the Ten Thousand Villages website (or go to their stores if you're blessed with one in your town as we are!) for beautiful, one-of-a-kind, fair trade gifts.

There are many organizations encouraging us to start sponsoring children this holiday season. If you can't find room in your budget to sponsor more children, but still want to make a difference in the lives of sponsored children, why not write Christmas letters to one of the many sponsored children who have never received letters... I read a post this week about the importance of these letters to the kids who receive them.

If you wish to send personalized Christmas cards, Compassion International has teamed up with Studio DaySpring to send cards to children in Ecuador. Check it out here and bless a child with a Christmas card today!

This last idea is one of my favourite ways to celebrate giving every holiday season. Operation Christmas Child! Pack a shoebox (or 2 or 3) with toys and other small things, add a letter and some $$ for shipping, and bring it to a drop-off location near you. The Canadian website is here, and the international site for Samaritan's Purse is here. Just remember, the deadline is SOON so pack those boxes quickly!!

I'll be posting soon about how I've been giving this month so far (even before I heard of the 30 Days of Giving Challenge)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Learning to grow my giving heart...

*From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)*

Today is the first day I've heard about the 30 days of giving. Apparently it was started last year (2009) for the month of November, and this year it's running online from November 1-30.

I was expecting to find a to-do list on the website of exactly which action to take on each day of the month, and I was really excited that it's nothing like that. What the 30 Days of Giving is about is bringing the whole IDEA of giving to the front of your mind, and helping people to focus on doing things for others.

It's like the new song from Matthew West called "My Own Little World." If you haven't heard the song, here's a link to the song on youtube. What hits me about the song is just how simple it is to find people every single day who are in need.

Physical needs like shoes, coats, hats, scarves...
Needing food...
Needing clean drinking water...
Needing someone to talk to...
Needing hope...
Needing salvation...

How often do I look the other way when there are needs before me? How often do I AVOID the homeless man or woman because "I don't have time" or because "they look funny." I want to become aware.

I remember Service Week in grade 10 with my high school class. We went to Toronto for a week, and I don't remember what month it was, but it was cold outside. There were people sleeping on the streets in boxes. There were people sleeping on park benches. There were people who wouldn't even meet our eyes begging for money, or food, or even just the recognition that they are human. I remember feeling shocked that these people lived so close to me, and I had all my needs filled when they didn't have anything.

This month is not going to rid the world of poverty, or find homes for all the homeless, or feed every hungry child in Africa; but if we can change our hearts, maybe we can change the life of one person.
Maybe we can give shoes and coats and food.
Maybe we can speak of the hope we have.
Maybe we can be all the difference between life and death.

I'm going to give. And I hope it won't just be for a month.