Friday, January 30, 2015

My Sweet Daughter

One of the main purposes of this blog is to document my kid's lives.  I just wanted to share some sweet moments with Nya from over the past couple of days.  Being that my mom is no longer here on Earth, I savour my mother daughter moments with her that much more.


{Bedtime stories.  Each of us with our baby. Thankful when she picks the short Dora books.}



{I was braiding my nieces hair and thought `Why not try Nya's?'.  Yahoo! It worked.  First braid of many.  Growing up, I had 4 younger sisters and I was responsible for doing the hair of  #4 and #5 in the morning.  I was a french braiding/fish tailing queen.  I'm rusty but I'm sure I'll be back to it in no time.}


{The boys often like to play hockey in the alley and if Nya's in the right mood, she joins in.  I know I'm a bit biased, but for a two year old, she's pretty awesome.  Two hands on the stick,  keeps the stick down, and handles the ball decently.  There is something so heartwarming about seeing her in dress up clothes and being sporty.  Cute and athletic.  Awesome combo.}



{She plays with a separate ball and the boys are so good about watching out for her.}



{I scored!}



Oh Nya Bear. So thankful for you, monkey.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend.  Thank you for following along here, I totally appreciate it.

Love,
Louise

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday


Every Thursday I focus on 10 things that I am thankful for.  This week I am thankful for:

1.  My treadmill.  I LOVE it. I'm worried I love it too much. I love that I got a deal ($200 for a $1000 one because it was secondhand).  I love that I can use it to run in the daytime while the kids play.  I love that I can use it when the kids are in bed and Gary is out at basketball practice.  Between Gary and I, it's used probably 6 days a week.


2.  Our financial needs being met.  I'm so thankful that through Gary teaching full time and me contributing through subbing, doing some daycare and wedding photography, we are comfortable.  I don't really know how we do it when tuition takes up almost 10% of our income, but somehow, it all works out!

3.  Moving into the last stage to become foster parents.  We completed about 50 pages of homework this past weekend and now our home study will begin!

{It included interviewing each of our kids.  These were some of Nya's answers.  Koen wants to be a `Mango Seller' when he's older}

4.  A great experience with our Korean students.  Our kids loved them, they enjoyed our kids.  I appreciated a little extra income as I haven't subbed in several weeks.  They leave on Saturday.


5.  My health.  I had the flu last week and the aches in my muscles along with the complete lack of energy took me back to when I was first diagnosed with Graves' Disease.  It did cross my mind that I was relapsing. So, so, sooooo thankful to be in remission.



6.  A basement.  I LOVE that we have an extra bedroom, bathroom and playroom down there.  It's so useful!


7.  Nya's respiratory health the past 2 weeks.  We did a lot in regards to preventing allergies.  We vacuumed and sprayed mattresses, put on dust mite pillow covers, use an air purifier and allergen remover every night in her room, steam cleaned all stuffies in the house etc.  We also had her tested for food intolerances and are awaiting those results.  As a side note, she is so sweet, but wow, she is terrible at sleeping and has decided the past month that she can no longer walk anywhere.


8. Coffee.  I actually go to sleep at night thinking about my coffee in the morning.  I only have one a day and I love it.  I'm at the stage with the kids that I can sit and drink it while it's nice and warm.

9. A 10 year anniversary trip booked.  We needed something that would just be 3 nights due to childcare.  We have been to beautiful places in BC (Kingfisher in Courtenay for our honeymoon and 5 year anniversary) but wanted to do something different so...we're going to Vegas.  I've been once before and Gary has never been.  Our plan is to see a few shows, eat at a couple great restaurants, and to visit the Grand Canyon (Gary has never been there either!).

Right now we are trying to decide between renting a car and spending an entire day going to the Grand Canyon, or maybe just 5 hours total going to the West Rim,  or spending some big $$ and taking a helicopter (along with a champagne date at the base) which will just be 4 hours of our day.  If you have any recommendations for where we must eat, let me know.


10.  An hour of the kids getting along and playing board games.  It was when I was getting dinner ready last night. I was amazed, shocked and thankful. It probably helps that Koen was playing his own game.


I hope that this week has gone well for you.  As always, please let me know what you are thankful for today!  And, if not that, let me know where we should eat in Las Vegas. Thanks!

Love, 
Louise

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Homemade Yolos {Recipe}

All right, friends! Time for another gluten free and super low refined sugar recipe.  This one takes very few ingredients and it considered more of a sweet dessert.


The inside is a caramel type texture made of dates and peanut butter.  The outside is a dark chocolate and coconut oil shell.


I used my food processor to turn dates into a paste, added natural peanut butter and some salt, and then rolled them into very small balls.  When you do, make sure your hands are wet.


You freeze them and then cover with the melted chocolate and coconut oil combo.  Freeze again.


Keep the in the freezer for a quick and tasty sweet treat.



HOMEMADE YOLOS

Ingredients:
1 cup of pitted Medjool dates
1 1/2 tsp peanut butter
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup of dark chocolate (I use 85% dark chocolate)
1/2 tsp coconut oil
chia seeds optional

1.  Make the caramel by putting pitted dates, 1 1/2 tsp peanut butter and a pinch of sea salt in the food processor.  Scoop the sticky paste into a bowl and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2.  Take it out and with wet hands, shape the paste into small balls.  Place on parchment paper and put back in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3.  Make the chocolate coating by melting dark chocolate and coconut oil over low heat.   Remove from heat.
4.  Roll the balls into the chocolate and place back on parchment paper.  It will solidify QUICKLY so if you want to add chia seeds, do it right away!
5.  Freeze the balls again for about 20 minutes.  They are stored best in the freezer.

These are a bit time consuming for the amount you get.  They are small but they are tasty!  Who knew that dates were such a great replacement for refined sugar?  I find that one a night satisfies my craving for something sweet.

 Once again, it's from the `Oh She Glows' recipe book.  If you do want to purchase it, you can do so through this link and I get a small percentage.  The reason I recommend it is that the recipes are so diverse and healthy and the book is affordable.


Have a great day and let me know if you try this recipe!

Love,
Louise

Monday, January 26, 2015

Run and Beach Fun

Sunday was a busy day!  I had just gotten over the flu and was going to run the first of the MEC Race Series in Langley.  I wasn't sure how my body would do since I felt very weak on Friday and Saturday.  I had three smoothies on Saturday to try to build my body back up.  I woke up on Sunday feeling about 80% and was ready to go.  Fortunately I had signed up for the shorter distance, 5 km, so worst case scenario, I would just walk it.  By the way, these races are chip timed and only $15!  I will definitely sign up for another one.


The weather was great!  It was overcast and about 13C.  I probably should have worn a long sleeved shirt but I didn't want to overheat.  We ran around and through Williams Park.


While I was running, the five kids played at the playground.



They missed me coming in.  I finished just before the 30 minute mark which I'm happy about considering I've only been training for 3 weeks and I was so sick last week.  I placed 12th out of about 60 women in the 5 km race.  Not bad for an old lady, right? 


Koen was probably the most excited to cheer for me.  Kai was just throwing a football around and Nya, well, she's an interesting character these days!  She's pretty moody and just wants to be carried everywhere.


We walked around Williams Park for a bit.  I may have overthrown Kai's BC Lions football and it may have gone straight into the rushing river.  There was no chance of retrieving it.  He was pretty upset, but to be honest, it was a good example for talking about loss and what's really important.  He had even gone so far to say that it was the worst thing that had ever happened in his life.  If that is true, wow, what an amazing life he has led!


When we got home, I downed another smoothie and did a super duper short mini photo session for my sister and her family.  


We had lunch and then it was off to White Rock Beach with our students.  It was so nice outside, it was the perfect place to take them. 


All of the kids could have just stayed there in the muddy sand looking for crabs but we `forced' them to walk to the pier.




Gary and I (without makeup).  I have realized that 5 kids would be too much for us mostly because of our vehicle.  I don't like have 7 people crammed into a minivan.  It's pretty stressful with Koen and Kai fighting non stop as they have to sit next to one another for everyone to fit nicely.  I guess if that's the main problem, you would just get a bigger vehicle?





Then, we went to McDonald's for McFlurry's.


I think we were all feeling pretty tired by the time we got home:)  I definitely desire a little more downtime next Sunday!


Our friends are with us for one more week and then they will be heading home to Korea.  I know our boys would love to have new students but I think the next friend that will be joining us will be our foster child! We're getting so much closer as we are on to the Home Study...FINALLY.

I hope you had a great weekend.  What's one fun thing that you did?

Love, 
Louise


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Valentine's Day Magnets

This year my kids will be handing out Valentine's Day magnets instead of cards.  After looking online at the cost of having magnets made, I decided to make my own.   It is so easy and affordable!

First, I took some pictures of my kids.  Then I compiled nine of them onto a 5X7 in Photoshop.


I had them printed at Costco which is just $0.29 per 5X7.  Then I picked up some magnetic sheets from the local dollar store (Dollarama in Langley for locals!) for $1.25/sheet.  Each 5X7 fits well on one sheet.


You just peel off the paper and stick the photos right on.  So easy!


Then, cut the individual magnets out using a paper cutter or scissors.


Voila!


I'm not sure if their classmates will appreciate pictures of their friends on the fridge but I know grandma and grandpa will!  I think I'll do this for our Christmas card next year too.

Have a great week, friends!

Love,
Louise

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday {Marriage Edition}


Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of Gary asking me to marry him.  When he asked me, it was so surreal.  I knew it was going to happen but I felt like we were acting.  I think I responded with `This is so crazy!' instead of `Yes!'.


{At Green Lake the day after getting engaged}

We had a rocky dating relationship (we broke up twice) and I'm so thankful that we worked through it.  I knew one week into dating that we would get married and he wasn't as, uh, convinced.  So today's `Thankful Thursday' is a different one.



In my marriage with Gary, I am thankful for:

1. His patience. I'm a little more moody than he is.  I get worked up.  I get ideas.  I get irritated.  His calm response can bring me back to normal or at least in that direction.

2. His cooking skills and his desire to show his love to me through it.  It took me until year 8 to understand that this is him saying `I love you'.  I'm so thankful that he supports my/our new way of eating.

3. His superdad skills. I'll admit it, he's more fun.

4. The desire for both of us to work on our marriage.  We are now in the best place we've been.   I know it won't stay this way.  Now that we know we can work on it and see great results, it will help  us the next time we find ourselves in a rut.

5. A solid foundation.  We both believe that God brought us together and continues to work in and through us.

6. His faith in me.  He pretty much thinks I can do anything except become an Olympic athlete.  This was a real conversation by the way.  Ask me about my shot put and discus skills one day...

7. The fact that he always finds me attractive.  I never doubt it.

8.  Each of us being able to take leadership.  We each enjoying being leaders and so somehow we have worked it out that we know when to lead and when to follow.  I have definitely learned not to `lead' while he is driving.

9. His openness to my ideas.  Adoption.  Fostering.  Traveling. Renovating.  Removal of refined sugar...

10.  Both of us being open to growth.  Desiring it. Seeking it. As parents, spouses, friends and believers.

 I honestly had no idea it would be as hard as it is at times but it's so worth it.  I think we make a great team and there's no one else I'd rather spend my time with.

Have a happy and thankful Thursday.

Love,
Louise

PS As always, please leave a comment letting me know what YOU are thankful for today!