Monday, December 2, 2013

10 things low-income people want you to know...

Talking about finances, especially my finances, is a tough subject for me.  I am a pretty open person...probably too open, but when it comes to finances, I start to get a little uncomfortable.  But I can't get this blog out of my head!  So as a continuation from last blog, read on...

10 things low-income people want you to know:

1.  We aren't unhappy. Just because we have little money doesn't mean we are miserable.  Actually, many of us are happy in our lives, and enjoy many aspects of our frugal lifestyle.

2.  Sometimes we have to say no, and hate it. When our friends invite us out, we want to always be able to say yes.  But sometimes financially, it just isn't wise to do so, whether it be out for dinner or even the gas money to get there.  but we secretly fear if we say no you will eventually grow tired of it and stop inviting us out.  So sometimes we still say yes, even though we shouldn't.

3.  We agonize over EVERY small purchase.  People with more money i imagine tend to wonder if they should or shouldn't have bought bigger purchases...such as a new outfit, a weekend away, a new electronic.  Low income people tend to feel guilty every time they get a Tim Horton's coffee, going through a drive thru to feed the family while rushing on the go, or a new thrift store t-shirt.  We question ourselves all the time on whether it really was a wise choice.

4.  Something that is celebrated as "cheap" is not necessarily that way for us.  You know those commercials that advertise stores like Winners being super cheap?  Maybe it is for many people, but when I walk in that store I have to walk right out knowing it is out of my price range.  Even higher end thrift stores, such as Value Village, have to be shopped at very carefully because some of the stuff is priced  a little higher than we really feel we should pay because of our budgets.

5.  We worry people will pity us.  We want to share about our struggles...we want to be able to share on days that it is financially hard because we know there is comfort in friends and prayer.  But we worry if we share about finances you'll feel sorry for us, or start hiding 20 dollar bills in our house.  If we share, often it's because we just want a safe place to be able to talk about it, just like anyone with struggles.

6. We like low-key.  Please, if you invite us over for dinner, keep it simple.  If we go to your house and you serve us a three course meal, an appetizer, and 5 desserts, it makes us a bit uncomfortable.  Not because we don't appreciate it (trust me, we LOVE food) but because we know we can rarely reciprocate something so extravagant.  I get that for some people, that is their love language, and that is something I need to come to terms with, but please know that inviting us over for hot dogs,or spaghetti is speaking our language. :)

7. We struggle with pride.   Sometimes when someone sees a need in our life and does something to ease burden, we are so grateful but have a hard time expressing ourselves because we are feeling overwhelmingly blessed, but also struggling with pride because we wish we could meet all those needs ourselves.  Recently I had someone anonymously pay for a program for my kids to take part in at our church.  I cried because I was so grateful.

8. Stuff doesn't equal money.  I have heard stories of people judging financially struggling people because they have a big screen tv, or a cell phone, go on a trip,  or have something else fancy and "expensive" looking.  Just by looking in someone's home or life you don't know if what you are looking at was bought, a gift, or an insanely amazing deal.  We have more furniture and stuff in our home than we need, and only ONE piece of furniture was bought brand new at Ikea years ago.  EVERY other piece of furniture was either passed down to us or bought at a yardsale. Just because we have stuff doesn't mean we must be spending our money irresponsibly.

9.  We know we have SO much.  Just like anyone, we have our days when we wish we had more, but overall, we know the fact that we were born in CANADA alone is an overall blessing.  We know that compared to so many other countries and children and families around the world we are actually very rich.  We get mad at ourselves when we have a "poor me" attitude because the fact that we know where our next meal is coming from means we actually fall in the "rich" bracket.

10.  Every decision we make that involves money isn't always based on the cost.  Christmas is a great example of this one.  Yes, we want to keep our expenses down, but more importantly, we don't want to teach our children that Christmas is about a mountain of presents under the tree.  So we scale back Christmas in an effort to keep our whole family's eyes on the real meaning of the season.

If you have anything to add to this list, please share.  But these are some of the things that come to my mind when I think of what I would want others to know about us in the low-income bracket.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What Living on Less is Really Like...

There has been a lot of talk circulating the internet recently about people who are poor vs. people who are rich, their habits, and whether they have chosen that life or not. Much of this talk has been because of articles such as this one: 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day which has recently been posted on Dave Ramsey's blog.

I have used Dave Ramsey's envelope system in  my own life before.  His tips and advice have helped me in my budgeting.  But I find articles such as this one troubling as I feel it makes many assumptions of people who are not financially well-off.  I feel that these types of articles give a blanket statement of a group of people when every situation is unique.

I grew up in a home that lived off social assistance.  Most, if not all my childhood was spent that way.  I can recall days where I washed my hair with powdered laundry soap because we were out of shampoo and couldn't afford more.  I remember stuffing my pockets with toilet paper at school so I could bring it home.  I have had more meals than i can count that were bologna and butter sandwiches and Kraft Dinner that I drowned in ketchup to try and mask the taste of the missing butter and milk when we couldn't afford it.  I remember one winter my coat zipper broke.  I am sure we couldn't afford to get it fixed, and that was before you could google everything to learn how to do it.  So I would wear my mom's leather coat OVER my winter coat so I could button it closed and keep the cold out. And then there was that winter we reapplied shoe glue to my winter boot countless times to make it last through the winter.

So, yeah, we were poor.  Not as poor as some people have been. Definitely not poor by third world country standards.  I am pretty sure my sponsor child who lives in Nicaragua would laugh at me for even trying to say I have been poor...but we technically fell below Canada's "poverty" line.

My mom was a teen mom.  16 and she had a baby.  When she turned 19 she had me.  Two kids and she wasn't even 20.  She had to drop out of highschool to care for us.  Eventually at one point she had to flee to a women's shelter.  I imagine life wasn't so easy for her.

As I grew up in this environment, i was surrounded by turmoil.  My mom and my stepdad struggled at life.  Many of it was choices, but they struggled to know how to choose differently.  Eventually my mom did get her highschool diploma and went to college, and even accepted Jesus into her heart later in life,  but that didn't all of a sudden make life a breeze, and it definitely did not give her financial freedom.

Fast forward to my "choices".  As I already explained in my last post, i spent my last year of highschool living with another family.  At that time there was still grade 13.  I desperately wanted to stay for that, get another year of school under my belt, but as I was already living in someone else's home for free, I felt it was time I moved on.  They would have welcomed me with open arms for another year, but i already felt i had asked for too much.

I decided to go to Bible College. But there's a funny thing about our past.  We like to think we can just leave it all behind and not deal with it.  Turns out it follows us.  As I spent my year at college I struggled with a lot of personal baggage.  I wasn't talking to my mom for much of the year. At Christmas I spent half the college break alone on campus as I had nowhere to go. My older brother was showing some concerning behaviours and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.  I struggled to keep up in my classes.  I had always had marks in the high 90s but now I couldn't seem to grasp all these Biblical dates and rules and history.  To say I was focusing on my future would be a joke.  I couldn't see past all the turmoil with my family members.  Phone calls were a nightmare.  I was just trying to stay afloat of all the drama and somehow leave it behind.

Less than two years after that I got married. I started to wise up, and realized I needed to get a "career" to secure my future.  I applied for a program in social work.  I didn't get in, but I did get a letter from the college that contained a list of programs that were still open.  In a moment of panic of ending up in the same cycle as my parents, I thought I better pick something off the list or I'd screw up my whole life.  I picked Office Administration -forget the fact that I hate desk work and am not organized- at least i was building a career.

So I took out student loans.  Again.  It never dawned on me that there was another option.  That I could save for school.  No one had taught me that. I just assumed student loans was what you did.

Thankfully, by the time my husband went to school we got smarter...realized we would be better off with less student loans, and worked our butts off to pay for his schooling.  But, because my husband is an accomplished piano teacher, who had worked hard his whole life to get there, he just assumed he had to take a program that involved music.  Truth is, he was already accomplished in that area and had the education he needed.  He enjoyed what he learned, but if he could go back he often talks about how he would have picked a trade.  He loves working with his hands, or the outdoors, etc...but rarely gets the opportunity to do so or learn more in that area.

So there we were, a two income married couple, not doing too bad but definitely not living the high life financially, when of course, babies came along.  Three of them.  Each one a blessing.  Each one adding more expenses.  They got older and I felt God telling me to homeschool them.  I felt God telling me to stay home with them.  And so I have. I stay at home because I know with so much baggage in my family line, I have to work extra hard with my children to break those family cycles.  To start a new legacy for our family name. And I see them grow, and love, and flourish.  But every week there is a battle within me that says I need to do "the right thing" and go out and get a full-time job outside the home. That if I did that, then I'd be a good mother.  If I have what the world tells me I need to be a successful parent, THEN I am worth something.

It doesn't matter that I am often up hours after the kids go to bed to do some work so I can make a little bit on the side with my small home business.  It doesn't matter that I am the first one up, in the kitchen making breakfast every morning for my children.  It doesn't matter that I learn to make things at home like yogurt or bread or soap to try and save some money.  It doesn't matter that we paid off our almost $20,000 of student loans last year on our small income.  None of those accomplishments seems to matter when you see how many people view people like me.  People like me should just go to school and get a better job.  My children never go hungry, always have a roof over their head, and more clothes and toys than necessary.  But still, it's not enough for the world we live in.

Why, when we stand at the dentist explaining we can't get a certain type of procedure done because it isn't covered by the financial aid program we fall under do we feel like we are two feet tall?  Why when we apply for extra curriculars under programs that gives money so the families who struggle can take part do we feel like we might just start crying right there in that office?  Doesn't it mean something that no matter the humiliation or embarrassment we feel we do those things so our kids can have a better life? But the truth is, I don't feel embarrassed by the way I live.  I love my life.  I feel embarrassed at the way people think of the way I live.  That I don't measure up to what THEY think my life should look like.

But there are many in the world who say it is "my choices" that keep me here.  I guess in a sense they are right.  It is "my choices". But our choices aren't always black and white, cut and dry.  Every day we are trying to make the best choices for our own personal families. And for me, money is just ONE factor in the choices I make.  

The truth is, my life is anything but destitute.  I am blessed.  I know I have more than most of the world.  I get to spend every day with my children.  I actually ENJOY making things from scratch, and the bonus is that it saves me money.  I ENJOY the challenge of figuring out how to be creative with a meal to make it stretch.  I don't dream of being rich and having a bigger home....I dream of having a small cottage in the country so I can learn to do MORE to save money and to be more self-sufficient.  Although it would be nice, I don't dream of having a nice, comfortable retirement....I dream of being 90 years old sitting in a rocking chair, being surrounded by my children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, and they ALL have chosen to follow the Lord.  If my children, and my children's children, and so on come to Jesus, this life has NOT been wasted.  No money in the world could make up for that.

I pray that in the years to come, I stop listening to the people online or the radio, or anywhere else who tell me I am not enough because of my bank statement, and I live by words such as Helen Keller's in this statement:

"So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder on that which has been denied."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

ALL things work together for good....

I arrive on their doorstep with my clothes, and one box holding all of my belongings I was taking with me.  The rest were left behind.

My bed.  My dresser.  My great 8 graduation momentos.  All of that and more was staying behind.  Whatever happened to the rest of my possessions, i'll never know.

It was a month before my 17th birthday.

My mom had left our home a few years earlier.  Moved 8 hours away.  For less than two months I tried to live with her.  After all, I had to take care of her.  Or so I thought.  It didn't work out.  I moved back in with my stepdad and two brothers.  

Except now, my stepdad had met someone too.  On the internet.  At a time when meeting someone on the internet wasn't common.  Decided he would move one province over to live with her and her children.

I refused to go.  I had already tried it with my mom.  There was no way I was leaving my friends again, my church, my school.  I was NOT leaving my security.  I was NOT leaving the only place I felt safe.

But what would I do?  Where would I go?  I was only 16.  I had no job.  No income.  I was a high school student.

Then, one day, a friend of mine, two years older and preparing to start university that Fall, came to school and told me her parents said I could move in.  She would be gone....I could have her room.

Besides her Dad being my grade seven teacher, I barely knew her parents.  They barely knew me.  They didn't even know who I really was.  Yet they let me move in. And asked nothing in return.

And so there I was, a month before 17,on their doorstep with my stepdad.  He didn't know them.  Hadn't asked them any questions.  Didn't ask for their number, or how they would care for me.  And I cried as he left as the magnitude of what was happening kicked in.  Fear gripped me.  All of a sudden, I was REALLY on my own.

Except I wasn't.

God knew what He was doing all along.  The year I spent at their house, the people who so graciously took me in, was one of the best years of my life.  They didn't just let me sleep in a room.  They welcomed me in as a part of their family.  Extended family dinners, trips to the cottage, church events, and holidays. They let me learn how to drive their vehicle.  I racked up their phone bill on long distance calls and ate their food and they never once asked me to pay, even though I should have.

And all that was good.  All that was love shown to me.  But the best part??  Seeing how a family with Christ as the center functioned.  I watched a marriage in action that was full of love and respect.  I watched as they loved on their children.  I was included in that.  

That year i was an emotional wreck and I often wish I could go back and be a better 17 year old.  I wish I helped more with chores.  I wish I hadn't added to their bills.  I wish I was better.  But I know that I was trying to figure things out, and was young, and had a lot to learn.  I know that that year was the beginning of what would take me many years to work through much of my childhood pain.

Since that fateful day I was "delivered" to their house, I have seen my stepdad twice.  There is a good chance I may never see him again.  But this family who took me in, they have become a part of my "forever" family.  I don't see them as often as I'd like due to distance and and a busy life as a mother and a wife, but i have been able to see them every couple of years.  This past Summer during a visit my 4 year old started calling them grandma and grandpa with no prodding from anyone...we introduced them by their names to my children...but i think even they could feel it....the feeling that even though technically not related, THIS is family.  And so it just came naturally to my 4 year old to call them names that had deep meaning.  After we corrected him a couple times I think we realized we didn't need to correct him, but that HE had corrected us.

"And we know that all things work together for good for those whole love the LORD." -Romans 8:28

God WILL use painful moments in your life for good.   As crazy as it sounds, I am thankful for that moment I got dropped off on that door.  It has forever changed my life.  

There is pain in EVERYONE'S past.  NO ONE is exempt.  And maybe it hasn't yet been revealed to you, but eventually,  you will be able to see how God was faithful in those times.  How HE had a plan.  How HE has, can, and WILL use those hard moments for good.

Because He IS good.  THAT, I promise you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When Trials Come...

It's been roughly a year.

A year since a dark secret invaded my life, momentarily stopping my world.  A trial strong enough to knock the wind out of me, and still too dark to share with too many.

Those first weeks I cried  a lot.

And the months that followed were spent filled with questions for God...

It was hard not to hate myself.  To not blame myself. To not feel like I was enough.

Because really, if bad things happen, isn't that a punishment from God?  When pieces of our lives shatter before us, aren't we to blame? When something in our life happens that we truly thought we were immune to. Sure, that kind of stuff may happen to OTHER people...but not in my life.

But the truth is, we are not invincible.  The family who is struggling with cancer?  That may be you one day.  The marriage that is dealing with infidelity?  Don't think it can't happen to yours.  The parents who are desperate to see their prodigal son or daughter return?  No matter how hands on you are as a parent,one day that could be your life.

Because the truth is, in this world, there is only one thing we can count thing we can trust....that Christ loves us.  That HE died for you.  He died for me.  Because His love for us is so great.

When you are picking up the pieces of your shattered, broken heart, it is God who is there.  Not punishing, God doesn't work that way....He doesn't look down waiting for you to "mess up" so He can even the score.

I don't know why bad things happen in this life.  I don't know why trials can be so strong it makes it hard to breathe.  But I know in those dark times, those days that all you can do is "the next thing", that He is holding you up...holding me up....refining us.....helping us take this broken mess called life and use it for His glory.

After those first few weeks when the pain was raw, I could see clearly.  I knew what I wanted permanently inscribed on my body, so as to never forget....

"Beauty from Ashes"

Because God takes the pieces of our life that have been destroyed from the fire, and He makes beauty.  He takes those moments to teach us, to whisper in our ear, "I love you, draw close to me, I will NEVER leave you."

Out of those ashes, for the first time in my life, I truly knew what it means to depend on God. And although I am still a work in progress, I understood for the first time what it really meant to hand over my future, my dreams, my desires, to God.  When everything begins to feel uncertain in your life, when you realize you don't have as much control as you thought you did, God's strength and power is the only thing worth relying on.

Because He will get you through.

Maybe not how you planned it, or how you had hoped, but in the end, His ways are always better.

He will get you through.  Lean into Him.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A trip of a lifetime...

So, i had hoped to blog many times while we were away, but it wasn't as easy as I'd hope.  So i am going to cram in as much as I can into this post...sorry if it gets too boring!

I could never list all the amazing things we saw, so I won't even try.  But i will say, travelling to British Columbia was a trip of a lifetime.  If you haven't done it, go!  When you see the mountains, the tall trees, the glacier-fed lakes, the oceans, the wildlife, you will be in awe.  I met so many Ontarians there who said they went out for a trip years ago and ended up moving out there because of the mountains and natural beauty...I completely get it.  Not going to lie,  I won't completely mind if God calls us out that way someday! Here are some pictures.

We accidentally stumbled upon the Corner Gas set.

me and my sister! She lives out in BC.

We saw mountain goats and Elk on the side of the road in Jasper, Alberta.

Seriously, amazing Summer.  40+ hours of driving, and totally worth it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The end of week one at Bible Camp

Wow!  What a week it has been!  I can't even sort out all that i am feeling.  I was a "camp" kid, growing up there myself, but have been away from it for over ten years.  It was amazing to be back in that setting.  The age group that came in this week is my favorite to work with, ages 10-12.

I found it harder this time around to watch the campers go home.  I am a mom now, and it breaks my heart that not every child is going home to a loving, stable environment.  I remember every time I came home from camp I cried my eyes out and counted the days until the next time I would be back.  It really was such a big part of my life.

Each day that I was here I kept hearing God speak to my heart saying "this is where you belong."  No, not in Manitoba, although I love it here at Turtle Mountain Bible Camp, but i also love my life back home with my friends and my church.  No, I could hear God speaking, saying, "your ministry is at camp."  Thankfully there are so many opportunities everywhere, and I know our church is heavily involved in Summer camps, so I already have an idea of where my future Summers may be heading.

It also has been a different experience not being the teen counsellor.  I am now the "old, married woman with three kids."  Turtle Mountain has amazing staff, very dedicated and mature teens from what I see.  But I also see, just like any teen their age, many are making life changing decisions such as post-secondary schools, careers, jobs, etc.  They are also looking for guidance while at camp.  I pray that God can use me in those areas too.

We are here for one more week, and than we are heading out to BC to take in the sights.  I am a little nervous about seeing a i don't want to let that fear hold me back from seeing mountains and oceans and who knows what else.

I climbed the wall!   Almost made it to the top, but not quite!

Tacky Tuesday 

Tommy the Turtle, here in Boissevain, MB

Micah doesn't waste time with utensils when it comes to chocolate cake!

My kids are going to have a hard time leaving, I see that already.  Some staff that they have already attached themselves to left this weekend, and they were sad to see them go.  But I know they can form these kinds of friendships at other camps too, and i look forward to watching that in action!

Alyssa's birthday is on Monday and she will be a camper for three days starting tomorrow.  She is so excited and I am close enough to see how she adjusts.  I am pretty sure my little social butterfly will do just fine though!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finally, a post!

Our trip so far has been amazing!!  We have been having a blast.  Of course, it is not without roadbumps, such as Sam having to put up the tent trailer in a thunderstorm, or us being unable to find a campground to bunk down for a night so we ended up at a hotel (okay, not going to lie, that was a comfy night....;)) but all in all, it has been so much fun!

This is us at the top of Dorset Scenic lookout!

Us with my "little" brother in Winnipeg.

We have seen such amazing beauty!!!  God's creation is all around us.  I could write a book about it, but i don't have much time so I will just leave you with these pictures for now.  Right now we are working at a Bible Camp for a few weeks and then we are not quite sure what we are doing.  We had originally planned on working at an organic farm but Sam hurt his back and is unable to do any heavy lifting or manual labour for a little while, so we may need to change our plans as most work on the farm requires a strong back!  He is doing better, but still needs to take it easy.  We are considering going to BC to see the sights since we are already half way there and don't know when we will get a chance to do something like this next, so we might as well do it now!

Anyways, we hope you are all having a great Summer and are missing all our close friends.  Thanks for all your prayers!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Clock is a Tickin`...

Well, the clock is ticking.  Summer is almost here and we are busy trying to get all our preparations underway.  We have been blown away by the support we are receiving from so many people.  People are excited for us, and have encouraged us in what we are doing, and we constantly feel God verifying to us that this is what we should be doing this Summer.  Doesn`t mean it won`t come with roadbumps, but  we are excited to see what He has in store for us this Summer!

I`ve been working at getting the trailer ready.  My curtains are beyond crooked and not hemmed, but hey, it`s a trailer. :)

I also put this bumper sticker on the side of our trailer that I got from another blogger who travels fulltime with her four girls.  You can find her at .

I`ve also been working on my tie dye as I have a few shows coming up before we leave, and possibly one on the road.

Our last few weeks before we head out are also filled with doctor`s appointments for our little guy.  We just discovered that Silas has a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Right now we are in the process of trying to find the cause of it.  We have blood tests, ultrasounds, allergy appointments, etc.  in the next couple weeks.  Please keep us in prayer that we get all the answers we need before we leave.

I want to leave you with a link to Ann Voskamp`s site.  Right now she is in Uganda with Compassion Canada.  Her posts really speak to my heart.  Eventually I hope to go overseas with our family when the time is right for some mission trips in the Summer.  I find she has me thinking a lot about how much I have and how I need to be sharing more of my resources.  You can read her post at

Thanks so much for following our journey! :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Dreams....

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in the sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

For a couple years now, Sam and I have been dreaming of travelling.  We came across some amazing blogs of other families who were travelling, and were intrigued.

This past Spring we purchased this:

(Do you see that tie dye cushion peering out of the window?  Yep, we are 'hippi-fying' the trailer!  Pictures to come!)

I have named it "The Dandelion."   We have been busy working on our little dandelion.  Sam, our three little munchkins, and I will be taking it on a 6 week adventure this Summer.  We will be going to Northern Ontario, Manitoba, and a minor stop in the US.  Our adventures will consist of volunteering at a Bible camp, WWOOFing (more about this in later posts), and of course, some visiting and sightseeing in between!

I haven't done much travelling in my lifetime, and I have been dreaming of going to British Columbia.  However, with three small children and this being our first trip, we decided to not travel SO far (although still far, just not AS far....) as we test the waters.

What does that mean for us come Fall?  Well, we come back, park our little trailer, and get back to work!  Sam will be hoping to teach piano a lot more.  I have recently started a tie dye business, called BEAUTY FROM ASHES. I will be working at some local festivals this Summer before we leave and am beyond excited!

Is this is a risk? You bet.  But over the past almost 4 years of living in our current home and location we have come to realize just how blessed we are, and just how much "upgrading" in material possessions is over-rated.  We can make lots of money, and have no time for making memories.  Sam and I have discovered a lot about ourselves over the past few years, one being that are personalities are very much wired for exploring and adventure.  Anyone who knows us personally knows our kids are happiest when they are outside burning insane amounts of energy.  God knew what he was doing when he put our family together!

I plan to update this blog as we travel this Summer so if you'd like to stay up to date on our travels, please check back or type in our email address in the sidebar on the right to receive our updates to your email.  Please keep us in prayer exciting as our Summer is looking, we know it will not be without road bumps and challenges along the way.

Monday, March 4, 2013


There are many things that make me happy....chia pudding parfaits are one of them.

You know those chia pets back in the day..turns out those seeds for actually beneficial for our health..and also that when you add them to a liquid substance they get all gel-like...

I`m so not the measuring type.  So, basically, I threw in, like, maybe half a cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of coconut milk.  That`s a total guess.  Then I threw in some honey, and cinnamon.  I got out a nice fancy glass, threw in some bananas with the pudding and topped it off with some dark chocolate covered cacao nibs.  Basically, my new love.

Okay, let`s be honest here...there is NO WAY I served this delicious treat to my kids in this glass.  Nope, they got some hearty plastic while I felt all classy with my wine glass.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Sandwich-less Life

I don't know about you, but as a mom of three small kids, sandwiches make my life so much easier.  I mean,  what is your childhood without PB & Js??  Don't know what to make for lunch?  Use bread.  Need a snack? Use bread.

However, a few weeks ago I gave up bread.  Wheat gives me some awful migraines, and I have given it up off and on over the years, but it always woos me back, much to my regret.  I'm really trying to break up with wheat longterm this time.  And while my kids still eat bread, i'm trying to reduce the amount they are eating.

So what's a woman to do without her go-to sandwiches?  Enter, the sprouted corn-wrap.  I LOVE these things.  You can put anything on them.  Today, I decided for a mexican flavor:

Salsa, avocados and yellow peppers.  Yummy!  you could use whatever you wanted on these.  I find these wraps in the frozen health food sections in grocery stores.   This is a nice, quick and healthy meal that is easy to assemble when you have three kids all screaming sweetly calling for your attention at once.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Perfect Winter Day...

Winter has been wearing on me.  I want to feel the sunshine.  I want to make sun tea.  I want to walk out back and feel the grass on my feet.  I want to stop wearing socks.

However, every once in awhile, God blesses us with a perfect winter day.  The type where you can't help but be in awe of His creation.  The way the snow sits just perfectly on everything it touches...

Not only did the snow look gorgeous, but we caught a glimpse of some young Amish boys out for an early morning ride.  The way they live so simply is inspiring.

Days like this make winter actually enjoyable.  But...I'm still eager for Spring's arrival! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Raw Vegan Steamer

So, ever since I discovered that hot chocolate I wrote about in my last post, I've been drinking it...a lot.  Today, the desire to have one was strong.  So imagine my heart shattering into a million pieces on the floor when I discovered I was out of cocoa.

Of course, I decided that my husband coming home to a wife going ballistic over being all out of cocoa might fall into the category of "irrational anger" so I decided to calm myself down and figure something else out.  (It was the kids' lucky day - they were out at a friend's house while their mama was having a serious chocolate withdrawal. ;) )

I came up with this:  A nice raw vegan coconut milk steamer.


1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
6 dates
dash of cinnamon
dash of vanilla

Stir this baby up in the blender.  If you have a vitamix you can warm it up right in the blender.  If not, warm it up any way that suits your fancy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Raw Vegan Hot Chocolate

My family and I, we've managed to make it through January without getting the "blues". And we've made it half way through February.  But, the winter blues have finally gotten a hold of us in the Carew household.

Any of you who struggle with this know that our kids depend on us to keep going, even if we feel like crawling into bed for the rest of the day. There is a chance my kids could struggle with the winter blues one day, and I want to teach them to try and not let it get the best of them.  So, when I woke up this morning feeling "blah", i let myself lay on the living room floor for 15 minutes, and then I made myself get up, take a shower, and attempt to be a good mom today. :)  I managed to be successful, setting up some painting with the kids, and spending a lot of time in the kitchen making delicious, healthy and yummy food.

Of course, when you are feeling down, a little chocolate is always a good thing! I made sure to make some raw vegan hot chocolate.  This was AMAZING!  My kids loved it! :)

Raw Vegan Hot Chocolate

2 cups homemade coconut milk
5 dried dates
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a dash of vanilla
2 TBSP of unsweetened cocoa

Throw it in the blender, let it do it's thing.  

This is where i learned that the Vitamix was the best purchase ever and totally worth the money.  I didn't have to heat up this hot chocolate on the stove.  I let it run a few minutes in the vitamix and it was nice and warm from all that blending.  I love my vitamix almost as much as I love the man who gave it to me. :)

And yes, i've discovered how to make my own homemade coconut milk...just dried coconut and hot water,and a nut bag or cheesecloth to strain it.  Who knew it was so easy?  

Okay, i've got to end this post because if i stay on this page much longer i am going to want to make myself this hot chocolate again, and i'd like to try and wait at least until tomorrow for another mugful. ;)