26 October, 2013


This morning we left for the beach with such excitement that we managed to lock ourselves out of the house. For the first time ever.

We ran errands and waited for maintenance to come with their set of keys before roaming the West Sands Beach.

I hope one day our children know how fortunate they are to grow up here. Right now they just think they own it.

photo by PH.

photo by PH.
Katharina could spend her entire days collecting shells and splashing in the water and would never feel as if she'd missed a thing.

And Peter has had a fairly quiet weekend following a week that knocked our socks off. We're thankful to have had this family time since none of us can get enough of him.

Byrdie slept through it all and only woke for these pictures just before we headed home.
photo by PH.
photo by PH.

Things are wonderful here; happy Saturday!

24 October, 2013


This is what we had for dinner last night. De-licious.

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad  adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how crunchy you like it
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 shredded shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
Optional: 1 cup chickpeas
For garnish:
1/2 cup cashew halves 
1/4 cup diced green onions (I forgot to buy these and so omitted them)
fresh lime

The dressing:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons freshly peeled and grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil (I also overlooked this and didn't have it on hand. I  thought it was delicious even without it)
1 teaspoon olive oil (in place of the sesame oil, I doubled this)
Water to thin, if necessary

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil and add quinoa. Bring to boil again then cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork. Set aside to cool. (This should be ~2 cups of quinoa).

For the dressing: (The original recipe has this dressing made using the microwave. Since we don't use a microwave, I made this using the stovetop and it worked just fine). Add peanut butter and honey to small sauce pan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly. Once peanut butter is softened, add in grated ginger, soy sauce, and oils. Whisk until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want it thinner, stir in a couple teaspoons of water at this point.

Add dressing to quinoa and allow to sit while grating and chopping vegetables.

Fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and coriander. Garnish individual bowls with fresh lime, cashews, and green onions. (We thought the lime juice was the perfect final touch and brought out the flavour of the dressing more).

21 October, 2013


For those wondering about my new camera: I have a Canon 100D.  In the States it is a Rebel SL1.

17 October, 2013


We're four days into potty training and it has gone better than I imagined. Katharina is a star. Today we've had more hits than misses, and every time I clap louder than her.

But yesterday was tough. 

Peter had to work late and the night before I only got a few hours of sleep and we've got some difficult things going on with people we love. I doubted, I struggled, and I was independent. I surrendered my joy and clung to my worries and fears and I should have clung to the Cross.

My attitude was far from acceptable and I blamed it on whatever I could think of when I should have admitted my sin. 

Things changed before Peter got home last night, and my heart became malleable once more. During my quiet time yesterday afternoon I realised this simple truth: 

God is either good, or He is not.

There is nothing in between, and I know from kindergarten Sunday school, He doesn't change.

Three words transformed my day, and have been lingering in my mind through everything I do today, and I hope everyday. 

No matter the trial, the fatigue, the anguish. The frustration, the sadness, the hurt. No matter how many times she misses the toilet and how many nights he has to work late. No matter how few hours of sleep I run on and how many days of constant rain.

God is good.

I can truly, confidently, unequivocally say that. 

He is good.

16 October, 2013


I adore this Thieves Household Cleaner.  I mop with it, spray it in the toilets and on the counter tops and hardwood floors. It is safe and effective, and leaves my house smelling great.

It's been formulated using Thieves oil, which was tested at Weber State University and proven to be 98% effective against bacteria.

And last year, I discovered something neat.

That nifty glass spray bottle is my old apple cider vinegar bottle. The spray nozzle? That's the top to a cleaning chemical that was here when we moved in. I just dumped that stuff right down the drain. And kept the sprayer.

 In general, anything with a screw-top lid will work. I stuck the bottle in a pot of near-boiling water for only a few seconds-- just long enough for the heat to soften the glue-- then slowly peeled off the label.

And now I save every one of my vinegar bottles.

07 October, 2013


This recipe was given to me by my good friend Katie. We've made a few changes, mostly based on what I always have stocked in my kitchen, and here is the final product. The core of the recipe really is hers.

I've made three double batches in the past three weeks. I guess you could say we devour it.

Lentil Soup

1 cup lentils (we like green) 
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 can chickpeas, not drained
1/4 cup uncooked basmati rice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt (like this)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 pint vegetable broth
2 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

2 tablespoons flour (arrowroot powder would be great as well)
juice from half lemon
2 tablespoons butter

Cook lentils in about 7 cups of water (we prefer ours thicker, so use a bit less), olive oil, and paprika. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. 

Meanwhile cook chicken in frying pan coated in olive oil.

Add chicken and remaining ingredients (except flour, lemon juice, and butter) to lentils. 

Simmer for 45 more minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly stir in last three ingredients.

Serve with yoghurt on top.

04 October, 2013


Today Philippa is 11 months, and she's entered this age with a mean growth spurt that wakes her hungry three times a night.

Though by day you'd never guess how much she'd been awake through the night. She continues to be a little doll.

She appropriately nods 'yes' and 'no' to what food she'd like, which toys she'll have, and if she would like to go to bed (always 'yes', but never really an option).

Her giant smile now shines with four pearly whites, the last two of which were a nuisance to cut. But they're here now, and she's glad of it because that means she can eat a whole lot faster.

She folds her hands when we say it's time for prayer, says 'mama', 'papa-papa', and 'nanana' (banana). She yells when her siblings yell and laughs when they laugh. She likes to furniture walk, climb stairs, and sit on the dishwasher door.

It has been a joy watching her mature and develop, interact with her siblings, and comprehend more and more. I'm praying this next month passes s l o w l y.

Pippa's bell rattle, identical to her papa's as a child, can be found here.