Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Promoting Peace.

I've just ran head first into temper tantrum land.  Recently we battled to leave the house.  She was unimpressed with her outfit, and by unimpressed I mean raging on the floor screaming for her pink pants which was confusing because she had her pink pants on.  But they were the wrong pink pants.  I have peace on my mind, but it was justice I was thinking about in that moment. 

What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

I lean toward 'fairness' in umpiring sibling/cousin/playmate debates.  I'm more comfortable with justice then mercy. I tout turns like they're the answer to household woes. I noticed lately that this isn't every mothers go-to strategy. I know a mom who is raising the 3 most exceptionally kind children I've ever met. Recently, on a joint family outing, I noted that when it came to bickering about music or the how to best share the sole water bottle in the vehicle - she promoted peace. While I was busy devising a fair dispute settling strategy she'd already dealt with it by asking one to give in to the other. How does she make this decision? I couldn't quite figure it out.

She is gentle, and they obey her. She has taught them to keep the peace. That sometimes it's okay to give in, fair or not, for the sake of another. In the process she's teaching her children to love, to put another ahead of themselves, to sacrifice what won't really hurt that much. She's a good mom. I could do with adding her peace-making tool to my kit.

After sitting on the question for awhile, how does she decide?, I think I've figured it out. She decides based on who seems to care more. Whoever cares most, wins.

I gravitate toward the justice side, but I've felt God moving me in the direction of gentleness. This means being slower to speak. Choosing my words carefully (difficult for an extrovert), and taking opportunities to sacrifice when it doesn't really matter. Teaching her to stand up for justice will come more naturally to me.  Today, I commit to promote peace in our home. To teach a way of sacrifice when the sacrifice means more to someone else.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The only ribbon that stays in my toddlers hair secures around her head with a cord lock, one of these:


I bought one like this off etsy about a year ago to see how it was put together.  The research cost me $14.99, and I got around to making my own about a year later.  Now we have a drawer full of them, at about .50 cents a piece. 

Easy to secure with no pulling, pinching or cajoling necessary.  Best yet, they stay put through the most rigorous 2 year old activities, car seat rides, birthday parties, the church nursery, you name it.  They're so versatile, we can both get away with wearing them.  Though I'm prone to leaving the hearts and stripes for her. 

Supplies needed:

  • Ribbon (the ribbon retreat is a great site with wholesale prices)

  • Cord Locks (ebay or Joannes Fabrics)

  • Masking tape

  • Silicone (Home Hardware)

  • Popsicle stick (or other knife/utensil you don't care about)
After generously snipping the ribbons (they can be 'pruned' later) lay them upside down on a masking tape tray.  Run a strip of silicone along the backs and smear it out with a popsicle stick.  Don't be intimidated by the silicone dispenser shown below, silicone also comes in easy squeeze tubes, this is just what we happened to have.  Let it dry overnight.

WHY SILICONE?  This keeps the ribbon from slipping off and makes it more difficult for curious little hands to nudge it off kilter.  My $14.99 dollar version didn't include this and even walking made it slip off. 

Now your ribbon ends are ready to be shoved through the locks, for an easy, adjustable and snug fit that almost any child will let you secure. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ingredient Challenge

Broccoli Rabe (Tim spotted it in my grocery bag this week and read the label before I could tear it away from him.  I assured him it was as close to broccoli as asparagus and he's agreed to eat it...)

Hearts of Palm

I heart hearts of palm.  Here's a salad for the record books.  My last ingredient challenge was this almost non-heard of ingredient and wow, what a salad topper it is.  It's found in the canned food section and reminds me of water chestnuts, but saltier with a more sinewy texture.  I chopped it finely and sprinkled it generously over our salad.  This scrumptious side dish sat next to grilled stuffed chicken breast and fresh bread.  This dinner sounds complicated, but the only complicated part really is being organized enough the have the ingredients.  Here's the recipe(s):

Salad:  A bed of lettuce topped with cucumber, split cherry tomaotes and avocado and drizzled with a creamy garlic dressing.

Creamy Garlic Dressing:

1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons oil

Directions:  Combine salt and garlic in small bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour.

This made enough for this evenings salad, with enough left over to store in an air tight container for the rest of the week. 

Pan Fried Shrimp
TIP:  I buy frozen shrimp when it comes on 2 for 1.  It's often not peeled or deveined but a small price to pay for really cheap shrimp.  It's ready in my freezer to fanici-fy a salad on a moments notice.   

Sprinkle shrimp with coriander, cumin and oregano.  Pan fry 3-4 minutes on each side on med in 2tbsp of heated olive oil.  

I prepared the chicken, shrimp, salad dressing in the afternoon while she slept.  Just before dinner all I had left to do was  toss the chicken packets on the grill and throw the salad together.  I think I'd made the bread the day before.  It was extra delicious because Tim was so impressed with the fanciness of it all, when in fact it was really simple.       

Monday, June 21, 2010

back and forth

After a week of finding my child too interesting to post about anything else, I've decided to do two different blogs.  One about my family and one to keep track of my projects.  Think my kid/life is super interesting?   Email me at timandheidi@shaw.ca and I'll send you the link to my 'other' blog so you can keep up with my stories about my (is it just me or is she super cute) kid.   

Stories like how this morning she sang the abc's at the top of her lungs in the produce department and how later she tried to convince me to put her down for her nap in the car. 

People who previously followed ... same address. 
Instead of stories like that ... at diy you'll find projects like this instead.

diy antiperspirant

why ... why ... would I make my own deodorant?  Refer to points #1,2,3 and 4 of my "do it yourself?" page for reasons. 

Who hasn't at some point felt uncomfortable with the aluminum compound put into antiperspirants that works to reduce the production of sweat (not just mask the smell like deodorant).  Any number of natural medicine sites suspects a link between this, I-just-won't-live-without-it part of my hygiene routine, and breast cancer/Alzheimer's/general underarm irritation.  What doesn't cause those things?  I don't know.  But I'll risk it rather than be the smelly girl.  I don't want to be that kid. 

Everyone knows deodorant doesn't mask anything, unless you happen to be born blissfully free of eccrine glands.  Even less likely to work than deodorant?  Natural deodorant. 

and who's ever heard of a natural antiperspirant?  I HAVE!!! 

So here's the scoop.  I haven't perfected the 'scent' part yet, but I have tested this recipe on my prone to dampness pits and it works!  I've even insisted hubby put his nose into my underarm and he gave me the stamp of approval.  So here it is:

Into a small sealable container mix:
1tbsp baking soda
6tbsp corn starch

apply to clean armpits with a powder brush.  Next spray on scent of your choice.  I've been using an old body spray over this, but I'm working on perfecting my own scented recipe.  I like that it doesn't smell like deodorant.  It just smells like whatever I want it to.  The only catch is that your pits need to be clean which is problematic on those (numerous) days I'm too lazy to shower.  On day two I use baby wipes before powdering up (if I have it I even splash on moisturizing rose water toner before I move ahead- recipe forthcoming).  It's just not strong enough to cover up a couple days worth of stink. 

It held up during all regular activities and even worked pretty well on a heart rate raising walk.  The only miss was under a polyester shirt all day -- but what deodorant works under polyester.   So that's my diy for the day. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I might be raising the most Christian child ever.

She's pretty sure that every time we get in the car we're going to 'church' and as far as she's concerned every book that's not hers in the house is a Bible. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baby Einstein

We're usually too busy watching The Wiggles to watch Baby Einstein, but this morning I was inspired to put it on.  Her favorite scene by far:

The menu.  She was more then a little bothered when I hit play, but actual tears were shed during this inappropriate-for-young eyes vignette:

The puppet pigs.  In the mud.  Upsetting.  Obviously.  Cleanliness is unusally important to this 21month old. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meal planning is my friend

My goal is to go grocery shopping once a week.  In order to make this happen I need a plan.  (My plan didn't work out so well last week.  I flushed as the grocery packer boy said to me - weren't you here yesterday?)  Nothing makes more difference in my week then my meal plan.   It requires sitting down for half and hour or so and looking at our schedule for the upcoming week then planning our meals accordingly.  With our schedule posted on family board (meal and activities) I avoid overbooking myself and I never wonder what's for dinner.  

This has become my schedule/menu board:

Here are my ten tips for a successful meal plan: 
  1. Scan cupboards and fridge for food that's in danger of expiring.  That can of beans I bought 2 months ago and didn't use turns into next weeks meal project. 
  2. Plan quick meals for rushed nights.
  3. Remain flexible.  To hot to turn the oven on or something else comes up, toss what's in the fridge into the freezer and switch the meals around. 
  4. Plan for the number of meals eaten at home on average.  I plan five meals week, we almost always end up somewhere else for 1 or 2 dinners. 
  5. Have a "quickie" meal on stand-by just in case no one invites us over :) 
  6. Write out my plan and include where the recipes are.  I can't tell you how many times I have grocery listed with an online source only to find that 3 days later I have no idea where the recipe is. 
  7. Don't give up on planning when it feels like none of it worked.  No matter how good the plan is, I'm bound to periodically miss that the recipe was a 2hour bake time not 20min.  Oops.
  8. Schedule time to plan.  A good weeks schedule and thoroughly checked grocery list takes about 1hr to complete.   It's become one of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities. 
  9. Don't get too ambitious.  I challenge myself once (or twice) a week (but I often end up regretting the #2) and I always make sure my challenging meals show up on days I have time to enjoy the process.  
  10. Include baked goods.  I never seem to remember my good intentions of baking fresh bread or muffins for a particular day unless I write it down. 
Planning somehow makes my whole week prettier, more relaxing and more productive all at once.  I've been practicing this on and off for years, but have gotten really good at it since...I've had nothing else to manage.  I didn't reliably remember to take meat out of the freezer before, let alone to marinade it.  I knew I'd gotten better at this when yesterday a family friend stopped by and spontaneously stayed for lunch ... then dinner.  May I quote her?

"This is the most gourmet meal home cooked meal I've had in who knows how long.  Can I get the marinade recipe?"  (lemon thyme)

It was one of my 'easy' meals.  Literally meat from the freezer (frozen with marinade) defrosted and thrown on the grill.  Sided with grilled mushrooms (doesn't get easier) and coleslaw.  I had planned to make something else, but when company came I adjusted.  It felt so, organized.  Like, how my mom must feel all the time.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that I'm getting awesome.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This lawnmower pop'er has gotten more mileage then any other lawnmower in the neighborhood. 

Good gift Jen :)  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


On Sunday afternoon we "hiked" up bridal falls. 

When Magdelyn saw the water she screamed 'turtle!'  (See, she's looking for them) But alas, there were no turtles.  I explained that the water was moving too fast for the turtles and that they'd all been washed to the duck park.  She then insisted we immediately go and find them (she started to truck down the hill saying duck park). I told her we'd go 'tomorrow' (she doesn't really understand tomorrow does she?).  Duck park were her first words on Monday morning.  Apparently she does understand tomorrow.    So off to the duck park we headed to find turtles.   

And turtles we found. 

And after all the hoopla about the turtles she was annoyed with me for dragging her over to see them (notice in the picture above she's refusing to look at them).  She was much more interested in chasing the hissing
Canadian Geese.

And, Tim would like me to mention that he was an integral part of the Bridal Falls adventure.  Integral.  Absolutely. 

The end.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Excuse to Iron?

That's right.  I said it.  And I was only 80% kidding.  I do, sort of, like to iron if I can make whatever I'm ironing smell like lavender mint linen water at the same time.  Linen Water.  Who needs febreeze when I can use this diy linen water recipe as linen spray, room spray, couch and carpet freshener, and since I keep it in my bedroom I often spray our bed while I'm making it up.  Mmmm ... fresh sheets even when they're not fresh.  Tricky.   

and yes mom, I make my bed.

I wish you could smell it, but here's the recipe for my DIY Linen Water:

Dump the following into a spray bottle (dollar store) and shake before each use

1/4c Vodka
3c water (distilled if you happen to have it kicking around - I certainly don't)
100 drops of Lavender essential oil
5-10 drops of peppermint, rosemary or basil essential oil

You can tell from the vodka bottle how much linen water I must go through.  I really like to iron. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

One Problem

With going public is that I don't want my name "Heidi ..." to be searchable (previously I didn't care because my blog was private).  I've taken the last name off of my site and profile but when I google my own name my profile with the link to diy still comes up.  I've now disabled my profile in hopes that it drops off googles radar and I can open it back up.  Any other suggestions?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Our churcherecently shouted out a request for host families to put up members of African Childrens Choir.  What a perfect excuse to iron my sheets!  So I shouted back "I'll take them!"  And thus, I shared my home for one too short night with Ivy, Deborah and Faith all of whom Magdelyn quickly began calling "Nena."    

As an experienced billet (I've accumulated months worth of nights spent in random strangers homes) I know what makes a billeting experience stand out.

1.  A clean house
2.  Normal food (avoid casseroles)
3.  No socializing pressure

And so - I scrubbed my tubs and floors.  Washed and ironed my sheets (twice since Tim crawled into the freshend spare bed for a nap) and planned a kid friendly meal plus a trip to the park.  Magdelyn, as usual, was thrilled with company.  I suspect she'll be a hostess with the mostess herself one day. 

This is Ivy, who in particular had a special way with Magdelyn.


I swear she sleeps more now then a year ago.  It's almost hard to get anything done in the days.  My mom is picking us up in 10 minutes for an outing.  At 9am.  I'm about to go wake her up.  She naps at 1pm and Tim often gets her up when he gets home from work at 4:45.  She goes back to bed between 7-7:30, and it's a blue moon that she makes a peep before morning. 

Don't even bother asking what I did.  I have no tricks.  I just have a husband who loves to sleep - and apparently it's genetic.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


One day we had potty success.  I think she was as surprised as we were. 

We were hopeful.  Maybe potty training would be easier then I thought.  Unfortunately since then, froggy has gotten the most use of the potty. 

Today I told her she could have a candy if she pooped on the potty.  She was tempted and gave it a good  push or two.  Then she stood up and said "diaper.  no candy store." 

So, no candy store it was and I changed her poopy diaper 10 minutes later. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ingredient Challenge

Hearts of Palm


Cornmeal Coated Chicken Wings. 

When I served tables I never remembered to bring out the finger bowl, but now I'm a pro.  Finger bowl and all.  These wings were goooooood and tasted as crispy deep fried as you can get without deep frying.  Here's how it's done:

Whisk together:
1c Milk
1T vinegar
1 egg
1t salt 
1t hot sauce
Pour mix over wings to soak in a sealed container for 4hrs or overnight.  Before cooking, mix the following into a large Ziploc bag.  Dump in wings a couple at a time and transfer to baking sheet.
1/2c cornmeal
1/2c flour
1.5 chili powder
1.5 cumin

Roast wings at 400F, turning once, for 45min or till juice runs clear.  Serve with blue cheese dip (or ranch if you don't have any). 

Friday, June 4, 2010

If at first you succeed only marginally...

Try try again. (if a DIY is a total bust I just throw up the white flag.) My Do It Youself projects generally require a number of attempts and tweaks and are always inspired by:

1. Things I can't find
2. Things I can't afford (or can make for way less)

And so enters the story of my d.i.y MANGO FROZEN YOGURT, and no it can't just be found at the grocery store. Grocery store varities taste so artifical I don't even think mango is in the ingredients. But once, once when I was pregnant I found two containers of Hagen Daas Mango Frozen yogurt and I've been searching for it ever since.

What's a girl that pines for discontinued hagen daas mango frozen yogurt to do? Make her own.

The recipe implied that all you needed was a freezer. Maybe I heard wrong, but they even seemed to discourage ice cream makers in favor of this more simple method. I'm prone to fighting with contraptions so I was all for simple. Here's how it went:

3c Mango cubed (about 2)
1/3c berry sugar (instantly dissolves so it grainy)
1tbsp lemon juice
1c balkan (or plain) yogurt (Balkan is just a bit creamier)

Blend or process it all together and pour into plastic-wrap lined baking pan

Freeze it for 1.5 hours. Break it into chunks and re blend.

Freeze till firm in an air tight container.

I nailed the flavor. BANG! But it came out of the freezer hard as a rock. I spent the next week chiseling this snack into my mouth. Apparently freezers don't just automatically turn mango yogurt mush into a smooth dessert.

Now I know.

So I posted a query to my facebook friends if anyone had an ice cream maker I could borrow. I figured I'd test the waters to see if this made any difference before I even considered buying one of my own.

I wasn't hopeful as I fought with the contraption I'd borrowed. It looked nothing like the sleek model I'd scoped out at Superstore. I couldn't get the lid on. I couldn't get the spinner to turn. Test 2 wasn't looking hopeful. But despite the 30 year old machine with broken parts ... check out the frozen yogurt that came out of it 20 minutes later!

Yum! Someone tell superstore I'm coming for their ice cream maker!

 Better then Hagen Daas heaven.

Okay let's be honest

I probably just have a hard time saying no (to anything) and have come up with a fancy excuse to justify it.  Lucky KID!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


We're about to hit the terrible twos. In fact, they may have arrived in a screaming fit this weekend. Will my discipline strategy hold up?

Every once and awhile hubby calls me permissive in that "I'm 80% kidding" way. I maintain that she does not get whatever she wants. Today she had a mini meltdown because I wouldn't take my pants off. Now, if I'd spent the day in my underwear I'd accept the permissive label. What I am is deliberate. I call it gentle guidance. If it's likely not a big deal - I don't make it one. But I'm not afraid to pull out the "Don't You Dare" face when I need too, it looks like this (it even scares me a little bit):

I deliberately use the word 'no' sparingly, but that doesn't mean I forgo behaviour training all together. It's alot more work to enforce boundaries while not saying no. It's the "how about we do this" instead manner of correction. Instead of "no" or "don't" I try to remain positive:
  • How about dig in this dirt rather then in my herb garden, Mommy's herbs need to stay in their ground.

  • Here, take one one square of toilet paper (rather then the whole roll.)

  • When holding an object she shouldn't have I quickly offer her another rather then grabbing it from her while saying no.

  • Grabbing anything from her makes her furious. So even if I have nothing else to offer I bend down and tell her that she needs to give it to me. If she doesn't, then I take it -- the fall out is always less intense when I've given her the choice first.

  • Will she fall or break my couch if she jumps on it? Not likely, jump away. (and yes, I think she can figure out the difference between our couch and someone else's).

  • If she's doing something she doesn't know she shouldn't be doing, I intervene gently. I may even explain why she can't do that. She might not understand the reason, but she certainly understands the, your-not-in-trouble-but, tone I'm using.

With a little effort there's a way to promote boundaries by creatively redirecting, saving 'no' for more serious discipline issues. Redirecting requires a conscious effort and it doesn't guarantee a happy child anyway, so why bother? Because I want her to feel empowered by choice, not restricted by rules.

The other day she reached into my junk drawer, pulled out 2 packs of cards then proceeded to scatter them around the kitchen. I didn't love that. I stopped and considered my response; I calculated the time it would take to gather, separate and count 2 decks of cards and the chances of them coming back complete. Plus, I didn't want her to feel like she has an all access pass to that drawer, where she'd also find scissors and gift certificates. But disseminating my $1.50 playing cards? Not really that big a deal. So I let her do it, knowing that permitting it may bite me later when I have to set a boundary around that drawer. But I decide "to let tomorrow worry about itself" - and that day, I told her to go nuts, throw my cards around the kitchen to your hearts content.

She never did it again anyways. Unless safety is a consideration I don't react strongly (or at all) to a first offense. I learned as a manager that if somethings is really a problem, there will be lot's of opportunities to address it. Half the time, it's not a problem at all.

When I do have to correct a behavior in a more serious "oh no you don't!" manner, I pick one or two at a time. Currently it's: don't you dare hit and, don't you dare draw on anything but paper. Her "I sorry" sobs are heart breaking and defiant all at once but she's never surprised by my response.

I'm willing to accept the tears to avoid anymore of this:

on my kitchen cabinets.

She was born cautious, so I hope this encourages her to think "I'll try it" more often then "I'd better not."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ingredient Challenge

I can see it getting a bit tricky, this business of picking a new ingredient every week. I'll have to start keeping my eye peeled for inspiration while visiting our lovely local markets, like Save on foods and Superstore. Here is this weeks:

Cornmeal, and not the boxed "cornmeal muffin mix" -- the real thing (which is likely not that different. I said I'd keep my eyes peeled for ideas, okay?)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


About a year ago a regular customer came into the store while I was working. I asked her about her daughter, who was 2 at the time. She told me they'd just discovered she was an exceptional draw'er and proudly pulled out her camera to show me a picture of her art. As she was doing so she informed me that they were already looking into fine art schools to register her in.

Two. 2 years old. The picture looked like scribbles to me, but I oo'd and ah'd. Inside I was laughing at the proud mom. Silly moms. Carrying around pictures of their kids scribbles.

Then Magdelyn drew a circle, and announced it as one. CIRCLE! More Circles! And I seriously considered signing her up for art class as I took a picture of it. I knew what was happening but I couldn't stop it. MY KID CAN DRAW CIRCLES!

Silly Mom.