A Nomination

To my surprise and honor, If These Walls Could Speak and Naps & Cupcakes generously nominated Olivia Jamie for the Liebster Award. Thank you both!

It looks like…

1. 11 facts about yourself

2. Link back, and answer the questions of the blogger who nominated you

3. Create 11 new questions

4. Nominate 11 new bloggers

I’m new to this, so thanks for your patience!

Fun Facts: traveled to twelve countries – have a black belt in karate - love to garden – former nanny – write music with my sister – blush easily - been to seven of Canada’s ten provinces – love a good laugh - saw Lord of the Rings three in theaters three times (that’s over 10 hours…ew) – play guitar – and love, love tea

photo-111. Why did you start blogging? To encourage young women to fall in love with reading again. Now I add hints of cooking, homemaking, and wifely things, because it is what I love to do/be most!DSC021392. What is your biggest phobia?

The phobia of never being able to speak French? See #9
3. What is your top item on Pinterest that you really actually want to try?
Uhh…I’m so bad with Pinterest. : (
4. What is your favorite thing to do in your city?
Dinner with friends, finished by games and a pot of tea!
5. What is the #1 blog you would recommend someone to follow?
The Yellow Table! Anna is a self-publishing cookbook author and chef and a down-right awesome person. Watch this, then follow her! (photo credit: Signe Birck and Anna via The Yellow Table)
TYT
6. If you have to get ready and leave in a hurry what is the one thing you can easily cut out of your routine? Shower…that’s what dry-shampoo is for!
7. What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
Following Jesus Christ. 
8. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
Rainy weather with tea, snuggling with my husband, homemade pizza for dinner, time with friends, and a good movie.
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9. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
To be fluent in French. Please!
10. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
My file folder with our passports, marriage certificate, and work visa! You can replace those things, but not easily when you’re living in two different countries. 
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11. Are you currently watching a season of something on Netflix? What is it?
We finished Sherlock and were obsessed (in a good way, of course). Now? The Amazing Race.
It’s fun to get to know one another…So I’d like to nominate*…
Questions for my friends!

1. What is your life passion?

2. What was the last meal you cooked?

3. What book did you most recently read?

4. Who is your personal heroine?

5. What is your favorite warm drink?

6. Do you speak any other languages? If not, which one would you learn?

7. Your favorite NGO or charity:

8. “Last time I was on a plane I was headed to…”

9. “I love to smoother scones with…”

10. Paper or digital day planner?

11. Sweet or savory?

*it was an honor just be nominated and answer these fun questions. in NO way is there an obligation to respond! it would always be a joy to be hear and know you a bit more!

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A Walk In Between Seasons

DSC02649We took this weekend to catch up in between work and family time, church and celebrating Easter to enjoy nature in this change of seasons. It is wonderful how calming creation can be when you take it in…to hear birds chirp, and branches creak, and water lap.

Along with teaching ESL, I have a part time customer service job here in our town. It’s about a 20 minute walk and I’ve been attempting to walk to work as often as I can. I’ll listen to an audio book, catch up on phone calls, or just enjoy the small bit of exercise. It’s now a highlight of going to work! Give it a try, if you can.

Hope your Easter weekend was a blessed one!

Now tell me if you can spot the margarine container bird feeder. DSC02660DSC02683 DSC02680DSC02689 DSC02695 DSC02696 DSC02699 DSC02706

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Doing vs. Being, And Learning How To Love Home

Still Starts

I have a prayer as a wife and homemaker: that our home would be a place of peace, of refuge, of blessing, and laughter.

With my cheek resting in my hand, on the back pillows of our off-white couches I prayed, eyes closed. Deep down denying my angst TO DO, and keep doing.

Lord, invade this place. Let your praises be sung here, my husband be rested here, our guests refreshed and blessed here. Let it be a refuge from worldliness. 

Almost everyday since we moved into our first apartment I’ve come home anxious, and sometimes not even looking forward to stepping in the door. What needs to be done? Laundry? Dishes? Organizing? Exercising? Cleaning?  And many housewives can relate to this thought pattern. There’s almost always something to be done. There is almost always another crumb to be swept away, dish towel to be folded, head of lettuce to be washed.

Journals

But recently, I have been practicing coming home from work and letting it be…and doing it later (gasp!). Taking time to make tea and sit down to journal. Organizing a little, but not a ton. Leaving the computer closed until I have read a psalm aloud or close my eyes for several minutes. And loving our home for being a place where I can enjoy being and doing (when the time is right).

I enjoy my role as a homemaker. I want to spoil my husband with good food while enjoying a bright, clean home. But Jordan once wisely said (in so many words), “I would rather eat pb&j and have a happy wife, than eat a gourmet dinner made by a stressed out wife.” Well said, Babe.

Because if I weren’t careful, I would never stop…and it’s a weakness of mine I’m very aware of.

How do you stop to just be?

Inspired by Darling’s amazing article, The Professional and The Peaceful Home

photo credit: (1), (2)

 

 

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Recommended Reading: Women 17 & Up

reading in bed

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…reading just really changes this girl. With every story I read of humble, serving, beautiful, Christ-like women, I can’t help but reflect on my own character. Who I am, who I will be, and most importantly, who will I serve? The following reads offer help to young women asking these questions. To those who are seeking to be who God made us to be since before time began….this is just a start*…

Recommended Reading List: Young Women 17 & Up

On singleness and marriage…

Quest For Love by Elisabeth Elliot

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy & Kathy Keller

Devotional…

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

On-the-side reading…

Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Cold Tangerines & Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist

Faithful Woman and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper (Dense, but really good. You can flip through and learn a ton)

Find more at…

Recommended Reading: Girls 13-18 and

Lives of Faith Reading List

*I started this blog for the purpose of encouraging young women to read. Of course, I don’t have an unlimited knowledge of every book out there, but between all of us, we’ve read many life-changing books. What have been those books for you. I really would love to know and be able to add them to these lists along the way. 

photo credit: ignitelight 

 

 

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Friday Five

And so it’s Friday. Lovely Friday. Lets all celebrate by getting some freckles and icing our teas.

How was your week? Ours was really nice.

I. It was journaling and listening

Weekend Viewing

II. It was meeting up with new friends

III. It was dining for two, and nine, and six

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IV. It was praying, talking, working through decisions

V. And preparing to celebrate

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photo credit: (1), (2), (3)

 

 

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What Immigration Looks Like: Part 3

DSC02365Well folks, we’re there. We’re in the “waiting” stage. My permanent residence application (See Part 1 & Part 2) has been mailed off to the government officials, who hopefully will get this on a good day, and hopefully will see our application and think, “Wow. What an organized application! Lets put it in the expedite pile!” No, but really, we trust God’s timing and it just feels so good to have this off my shoulders. Every day, every week since being married it burdened me. I shouldn’t have let it but I did. So we celebrated with a movie and dinner out, and a Tim Horton’s tea, and another dinner out.

But in the final days…I revised and checked. DSC02460And checked again. DSC02467And took a picture with The Precious. DSC02471And put on my best “To The Post Office We Go” outfit. DSC02489And mailed it off.

 

 

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Friday Night Ice

DSC02545College was my first introduction to all things team-sports. Intramural soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee…but hockey…hockey was and will always be Jordan’s thing. While I probably could have been a more enthusiastic cheerleader, I did try my best to show up to a game or two:

Jordan: Hey, thanks for coming! When did you get here?

Me: Umm…I came when there were 15 minutes in the last period! (Big, supportive smile)

Jordan: Oh. Yeah. That’s, ok. Thanks.

Me: Well, you know…I got so carried away with studying…I just lost track of time. And the end is the most important anyway, right?

Obviously, I don’t have a hot clue when it comes to the “most important” part of the game. Which apparently, is the entire game.

The boys played every Friday night this winter and these are from their tourney that marks the end of the season. They won (!) and now onto baseball.DSC02543R(not #4)-L Husband, Brother #1, Brother #3 & friend (all impressed by this dedicated hockey wife)DSC02537My favourite part: Sister 1 & Sister 2 (once removed) and we are utterly enthusiastic. Yes, we are!DSC02539DSC02547A really nice part when the final buzzer goes off: No matter who won, they still shake hands and its so loving.

DSC02548DSC02563Aside from the cold, bum-knumbing-stands, and ungentlemanly brawls, hockey is not so bad. Because it means, chatting with hockey mom’s and wives, and cheering on our handsome guys. Well, there’s no turning back. By proxy (and incrementally by interest) I’ve joined the infamous Hockey Nation. 

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Weekend Viewing

There is nothing I love more than a warm breeze through the window while sipping herbal tea, and enjoying a buttered croissant. Nothing more than a calm afternoon read, with feet up on the couch and nothing to bombard the mind. Nothing more than that thawing sensation of snow melting, sore muscles relaxing, and crocuses budding. So, for this weekend’s viewing…a little more Spring.

These croissants look perfect. From The Tart Tart, a Saveur recommended site.

PlainCroissants4

Your eyes did not deceive you. These silk-tie-dyed eggs are as simple to make as they are beautiful. From a new favorite, One Thousand Threads.

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My mouth is watering at the site of this citrus salad. I can’t get enough of fresh tart fruit these days!

grapefruits

Also…

How To Never Crave Junk  Food Again

A seasoned traveler’s (and new friend) Favorite Big Cities In The World. Lets Go!

A simple and fashionable craft by Montgomery FestPotato Stamping

My Spring uniform

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Quicker In The Kitchen

room to cookSpilling onions, splashing balsamic, near fatal misses with a cleaver. Been there? Every time I am, I think, “I can prevent this! Why am I not helping myself?” Because usually I’m rushing and sometimes I’m just lazy. Here are a few time savers that I’m learning along the way.measure out#1 Doesn’t this just create more dishes? Well, yes, but… I’ve found that if I pre-measure certain ingredients for a recipe I’m WAY more efficient with my time in the kitchen. By now, I can eye-ball things like two tablespoons of olive oil, or a cup of water. But a 1/4 cup? 1 1/2 teaspoons? Where this tip comes in handy: All the ingredients are out, ready, and measured properly. bigger bowl#2 Again, sometimes I am hesitant to pull out a larger dish or whisk than I need because it creates more work later. But really, for all the times that I have whisked vinaigrette in a tiny bowl and had it spill (Or how about flour puffing everywhere with one wrong move?). Where this tip comes in handy: I can be precise with my mixing or whisking without fear of spillage, which can slow things down and frustrate the cook, n’est-ce pas? spread out#3 Pull out everything you need for your task, be it small or big. For chopping, have your compost and serving/measuring bowls handy. Use a large enough cutting board. Choose your knife size accordingly. Minimize the clutter. Where this tip comes in handy: Avoid spills and be safe by giving yourself space to work. research#4 And my favorite: Learn from your cookbooks. From time to time I will sit down with a cookbook or two and go to my happy place. I find it fun and relaxing, and saves time in the long run! So, instead of spending 2 hours running back and forth from stove to recipe, I am familiar, prepared, and efficient from a little pre-reading. Where this tip comes in handy: 5 minutes of research can save you 20 in the kitchen. *Also, try cooking more difficult recipes for the first time when you DO have the time to linger and learn. Then the second or third time around will be quicker!

ON THAT NOTE: HOW TO MAKE CLEAN UP EASIER!

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Turkey, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

DSC02520The richness and flavors from this simple chili with warm you from the inside out. Along with the Chicken and White Bean Chili, this is my second favorite chili recipe. Even if you’re not a bean or sweet potato fan, give it a chance…it won’t disappoint!

TURKEY, BLACK BEAN & SWEET POTATO CHILI

2 sweet potatoes, washed & cut into small cubes

olive oil

sea salt

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 chili powder

1 pound ground turkey

28 ounce canned on tomatoes (whole or diced)

14 ounce can black beans, rinsed

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss sweet potatoes with a tablespoon olive oil and a dash of salt. Bake on a parchment lined sheet for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat another 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, spices, and salt. Stir now and then until onions are soft but not browned (8 minutes).

Add turkey to the pan and cook, stirring to break it up. Cook on a medium-low heat, stirring ocassionaly, until nicely browned (about 20 minutes).

Add tomatoes and a large pinch of salt, add a 1/2 can of water to pot, and bring to a boil. Then turn to a low heat to simmer for 20 minutes. (If you used whole tomoatoes, use the back of a wooden spoon to break them up).

Add the beans and sweet potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, plain greek yogurt, or some cilantro!

slightly adapted from GP’s It’s All Good. DSC02519

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