Monday, 31 January 2011

The Sign of Jonah Scorned

Last week, my husband Jason posted a new song of his on his blog.  I have been thinking about it ever since so I thought I would post it too.  It has great words and a good tune although I know I am biased because I really dig the artist!

If you like it let him know.

Friday, 28 January 2011

What is actually in our food?

When Liam got sick over two years ago, we started to seriously look into what types of chemicals were in our house and what was in the food we eat.  We made some changes such as cleaning with all natural ingredients and eating less processed food.  We started to read labels and to not buy products with ingredients that we could not pronounce.  Since that time each little step has led to another, so that we now make our own bread from scratch (recipe), make all our own cleaning products including our own laundry soap (recipe) and eat less meat and sugar than we once did.

Trinity's recent bout with what the doctor has described as an illness from food contamination (vegetables most likely grown in untreated human waste) has led us to again seriously look at what is in our food and how and where it is grown and produced.  In fact, just four days ago USA Today published a story on this topic.  As I try to provide healthy meals for our family that will not make us sick,  on a budget,  I am truly frustrated.

Milton is not a big city so finding organics in our town is not plentiful at the best of times.  Here is my issue, as I have been looking over the past couple weeks, almost 70% of the organics that are available here are not Canadian grown and are from countries that are known to have a reputation for using untreated human waste as fertilizer and for serious food safety concerns.  Just because it has organic on the label cannot guarantee that the food is ethically grown or produced.   From what I have been able to research so far the standards for organics vary from country to country.  Even though in order to display the USDA seal, farms even a half a world away are suppose to adhere to the stricter standard of the USDA organics program, there have been problems with inspectors and inspections.

I also resent that "produced" or "packaged" in Canada or the United States is prominently displayed on the front of many organically grown frozen fruits and vegetables at major supermarkets and yet in very small print on the back of the package, it says where it is actually "grown."  This practice seems sneaky to me and for that reason alone I have decided not buy from those companies.  I have even travelled to Oakville to buy from actual organic grocery stores and although they have more choices I still have to be careful because many items are "packaged" or "produced" here but "grown" somewhere else.  I feel like I need a computer brain in order to find safe food that we can afford. 

As we try to learn more about the food we eat, we are looking for good and reliable information and recipes that work with Canadian seasons so that we can buy locally and on a budget.  I would love to hear about where you shop and if you have any ideas on this topic or any recipes or information that you think we could benefit from.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

A Break from Routine

The Lodge At Night From Our Room
We spent the beginning of this week on a little mini-vacation.  It was much needed for me as I feel like I have been skidding to the end of each day on fumes.  Although I am personally not a big fan of water parks or rides, I enjoyed our time at Great Wolf Lodge, just as much as the kids.  This out of the ordinary trip was a fabulous Christmas present from my Grandma.  It is much appreciated and we all had a fantastic time.  If you have never been to GWL and you have kids I would have to recommend it.  There seems to be something for everyone and they definitely cater to families with kids.  Our crew all had a blast and even though our kids span ten years (age 5-15) they all loved every minute.  Our room had beds for all six of us, a microwave and fridge.  If you want to get even fancier then you can book one of their wolf dens or kid's suites.   We brought all our own food although they do have all inclusive packages if you don't want to cook.  We did get to experience the buffet on our last day for dinner.  Since it is all you can eat our kids could hardly wait.  Again there seemed to be something for everyone.  I loved the ravioli with mushroom sauce, mussels and salmon since I never get those things at home.  Caroline loved the salad bar, Daniel loved it all and TJ and Liam were big fans of the huge dessert buffet and the make your own ice cream sundaes. The only thing that I would recommend is that you make sure you rinse off after the park and take lots of cream for your skin.  The chemicals in the water park are really strong.  If you are allergic to chlorine than GWL is not the place for you!
This particular trip is organized every year by a fellow homeschooling mom who sees the benefits of having a mid-winter break.  She does a fantastic job of getting us a terrific rate and it is really fun to see all the kids playing and laughing together. 

TJ at the PJ Dance Party

TJ colouring her t-shirt at Cub Club
I took lots of pictures but I did not venture into the water park with my camera for fear of getting sprayed or dumped on by the many buckets and water cannons that kids find such a blast.  TJ spent the just as much time out of the park as in the park.  She loved the PJ dance party, night-time story and the wolf howl walks.  She also loves to have her photo taken so she makes sure I bring my camera whenever I am with her.  Daniel on the other hand spent almost every moment in the park and is a little photo shy and although he let me get some pictures he did not want to see them on my blog. 
Liam with Slim the Tree

Caroline and TJ camping out
Dinner under the tree house
So we have had a great start to the week.  Even our re-entry into our routine hasn't been so bad.  Maybe a little time out from our regular life was just what we needed.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A Stone from my Journey

So our week continues to be a bit rough, but as I have often found when you seem to be in a bit of a valley, there are always moments of beauty that God provides along the way. 

It all started on Saturday morning with lots of snow.  Now, don't get me wrong I like snow.  Winter is not my favourite season (how uncanadian of me!) but if we are going to have bundle up because of the cold at least it is bearable if it looks nice and pristine white outside.  The problem was not really the snow but the fact that I needed to take the girls to dancing first thing in the morning, which was in the next town and the snow plows were not even out yet.  So coffee in hand, I rushed around the house trying to get the girls ready even earlier than usual, as we needed to shovel out the driveway, clean off the car and figure out the best roads to travel.  At the last moment, my son Liam asked if he could come and I said "Sure but you need to help shovel."  Finally, we were off.

I think we were about halfway there when I realized I had forgotten my purse.  Not the brightest thing to do in the midst of a bit of snow event but we were too late and too far from our house to turn back, so onward we traveled.  When we finally reached our destination and I got the girls into dance class, I turned to Liam and said "Well buddy, now we have to wait for an hour.  What would you like to do?"  "Can we go to Tim Horton's so I can buy you a hot chocolate, Mom?" he asked.  "Oh you don't have to do that Liam, you can just get yourself something." I answered.  "No, you forgot your purse and you got us here without crashing (I thought it was nice of him to notice).  I actually want to buy you a hot chocolate.  Come on let's go!"  he said.  So off we went.  He bought my hot chocolate and we sat at a table and talked for over half an hour about life, and God and things that mattered to him.  The time was precious.  It was a moment of beauty in our journey and one that I may have missed if life had cooperated and been a smooth ride.  It was a moment that I am writing down because I don't want to forget and I don't want my son to forget.   Spiritual markers and the moments that only God could orchestrate should be remembered and memorialized.  I love that God cares enough about me to bless me through Liam.  

So Joshua summoned the 12 men selected from the Israelites, one man for each tribe, and said to them, "Go across to the ark of the LORD your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean to you? ' you should tell them, 'The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the LORD's covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan's waters were cut off.' Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites." 
Joshua 4:4-7

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Rough Start

Well it has been over a week from when I thought I would get a new post up.  Life has been...well let's just say a bit rough.  Our youngest Trinity Joy who is 5 has been sick since before Christmas.  We have taken her to the Doctors and she has had all kinds of test but they still can't seem to find the problem.  She actually feels fine until she eats something and then she is in terrible pain which usually ends in her vomiting.  Many of these episodes have been at night and I have to say that this Momma does not do well with out her beauty sleep.  She is losing weight and if this keeps up we are going to have to ask for her clothes back from friends that we handed them to because she had outgrown them!  Her Doctor is now doing more tests and is looking to see if she has a parasite.  Whatever it is we are praying that she will get better soon!

We started back into our routine of schooling but I have to admit that it has been a rough couple of weeks.  Maybe it is because I am a bit bleary eyed each day from lack of sleep or maybe it is that we all have a bit of the winter blahs but the rhythm of our house is definitely off.

The final straw yesterday was when our oven spontaneously caught on fire.  No, I was not burning anything as I was not even home!  It was actually the electrical panel where the clock and timer are located on top of the stove.  Luckily Jason was home and put out the fire with our fire extinguisher but now we have no oven.  I am thankful though that no one was hurt.  The frustration of trying to get the manufacturer to fix it was a bit of an issue today but hopefully that will be resolved.

So having put all this down in a post I am thankful that I get to put on my Pajamas and that tomorrow will be a new day!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Welcome to 2011!

Happy New Year!  I took a break from posting over the holidays to spend time with my family but look for a new post in the next couple days.