Saturday, November 29, 2014

Disney on Ice Date

Nya loved the Max & Ruby Ballet that we went to a few weeks ago (I had won tickets!) so I decided to take Nya to Disney on Ice.  We went this afternoon as it was an 11:30 am show which would be way better than a 7 pm one for her!


{She LOVES the hand clasp.  When she sits on my lap, we do this with both hands.}

She was very excited to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She doesn't know very many characters so if I were to go again, I'd wait until she knew all the princesses and more Disney characters.  Or, I'd just teach her the songs...she LOVES to dance along to the music.


Do you see her adorable purple pea coat? It's a MEXX one that I got second hand.  It's size 3-4T so it's too big for her but I had to put her in it.  Purple is her favourite colour.


It's a tad bit overwhelming with all of the merchandise.  I'm the super lame mom who bought the cheapest tickets ($15 for her + fees = $25 and mine came to about $40), brought a few of my own snacks, and didn't buy her toys/cups/dolls.  She didn't ask either.


It was good.  I don't love shows (GASP! I know.) but Nya loved it.  She watched the full two hours and didn't want to leave our seats during intermission because she wanted to see Mickey and Minnie again.  The one sequence I didn't love was the Halloween one and it was a bit scary too.  She was fine but it wasn't fun and beautiful which is what she loves.  I think we loved Minnie in her princess dress the best.


I think it's a one time thing for me but I'm glad we went!  She really enjoyed it and it's fun to do something different with her.  It's been a lot of football/cars/hockey around here for years so adding in some Cinderella and Minnie Mouse keeps things interesting.  She hasn't watched any of the Disney movies yet, I wonder what would be a good one to start with....any ideas?

Love,
Louise

Friday, November 28, 2014

Frugal Friday {Lip Balm}


A few weeks ago I discovered a really neat store called Voyageur Soap and Candle Co in Langley .  If you want to make something like insect repellent, soap, makeup, candles and more, you can get most of your supplies here!   Check out their website for a bunch of recipes.  I bought a tiny little container because I wanted to try to make some lip balm.


I wanted it to be as natural as possible so there is no added flavouring or colouring (which you can buy at the store if you want!).  All I did was put two teaspoons of coconut oil with one teaspoon of grated beeswax and melted it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I poured it into the container and it solidified within an hour.  That's it. Seriously. Done.  There are a lot fancier recipes on the internet but I'm all about simple.  In another batch I made, I added a drop of jojoba oil which is high in Vitamin E.  If you don't have coconut oil in your home already, it would be super pricey to make it but we use it all the time anyway.  Another option, is just to use coconut oil and some vanilla. 


I love the smell.  Coconut and a touch of honey.  100 grams of beeswax costs $3.49 from the Honeybee Centre and this amount will allow me to make about 40 lip balm containers!  It costs me about $0.75 total to make each one with the greatest cost being the container at $0.50.



Have you ever used coconut oil on your lips? Try it! If you are looking for more recipes, you can check them out here.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Love,
Louise

PS If you're looking to make kissing a bit more fun, put some on each of your lips while it's still warm.  Too much info?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Thankful for:

1.  Traditions.  Every year we go bowling with my family.  It is to celebrate Jackie, and now Hannah's, birthdays as they are so close to Christmas and it's nice for them to have a party too.   This year was the first year that we had all the kids bowling instead of the parents.  One lane for the big kids and one for the little ones. Way too cute.  So thankful that we can keep this up as the kids look forward to it all year.  


2.  Buddies.  Before bowling, we have a meal in the adjoining room.  Look at all of these buddies that our kids will grow up with.  So special.  The kids all play nicely together which is pretty unbelievable.  Well, I guess Nya and Georgie have their moments but not bad at all.


3.  Seeing Gary's softer side. I love seeing him with the boys and I love seeing him with Nya.  He gets their personalities so well.


4. Encouraging kids.  `Good job, Nya!' `Way to go, Koen!'. etc.  Love seeing them support each other.


5.  New recipes.  This one was circling on facebook but it's basically a crustless quiche.  Make sure you really spray your muffin pans as this was not a fun one to clean.  It was yummy to eat though!


6.  An article in print.   I've had my pictures published before but nothing I've written.  I never thought I'd have something in a flight magazine but here it is in the COPA magazine.  


7.  Fundraising success.  Such a hard working boy and supportive neighbours = $75 to donate!


8.  Foster Training Being Completed. We finished our education portion last night!  I feel like we graduated :)  Next up, home study!  I'm thinking that by March we will be good to go.  The picture below might not seem like it's related but when we went to see Kai's class lead Chapel, I was thankful that I can be here with my kids, that they can support each other, and we look forward to providing a stable and loving home for a child in the near future.


9.  A great visit from a friend.  And her three crazy boys.  This is the mess they made.  I think it's probably good that Koen and Caden don't hang out together often...they would get into a lot of trouble!  Koen has the personality of jumping in full steam without thinking things through.


10.  A great babysitter.  We have our foster parent training every Wednesday night and Lauren has been babysitting for us.  She is great with our kids.  Nya still isn't sure about Lauren putting her to bed so I usually just put Nya down super early (which means she gets up on Thursdays at 5 am).   I love having a babysitter that is so close and who I know and trust.


I hope that you are having a good week!

Love.
Louise

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Humble Confidence

I am pretty confident.  This doesn't mean that I think I'm great at everything, but it means that I feel very comfortable with who I am and what my abilities are.  I know I can continue learning to grow each and every day.   I'm thankful for this because from the ages of 12-15, I did not like who I was.  On the outside, I had a lot of friends and did well in school.  On the inside, I thought I was ugly, fat, boring, and would never have a boyfriend.   I was very hormonal and although I loved my family, I also felt embarrassed hanging out with them and my emotions were all over the place.  Angry, sad, happy, lonely.  So many emotions all the time, often taken out on my family, which was my safe place.  Why am I sharing this?  Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about confidence as we enter a new territory with Kai.


Our Kai Bear is confident and gifted.  When I say `gifted', I mean it.  He excels in Math, Science and Reading and is an enrichment program for Math. I say this so that you can understand why this is a bit tricky.  We have heard from his teachers, from the beginning, that he is an excellent student but that he needs to be reminded to be humble.  They've also addressed that he is competitive and needs to remember that playing well as a team is more important.  I know this.  He knows this.  We talk about being humble and team players, too.


My question is, how does one demonstrate confidence and pride in their work while remaining humble?  I'm proud of him.  I want to recognize that he is a hard worker.  I want to recognize that he gives 100% in most things.  I want to recognize that he's using that amazing brain that God gave him.  I want to recognize that I think he includes and encourages his siblings so well.   I don't want him to feel that he can't share his accomplishments because it will sound like bragging.  I don't want him to feel like he can't be competitive.  I don't actually see him bragging or being exclusive, but maybe it happens more in his social circle of friends.  Maybe it's mentioned as something for all kids to work on at this age.  Maybe we should put him in a team sport to work on it.


I'm wondering if any of you have struggled with this growing up and have any words of advice to give.  Have any of you have navigated through these issues with your own kids and have some wisdom to share?  Is there a book you'd recommend?  I would love to hear other perspectives or words of wisdom on maintaining a humble confidence.

Thank you.

Love,
Louise

Monday, November 24, 2014

Caring For Others

Kai's class is raising money to help families in need.  Together they decided to purchase seeds & tools, 4 fruit trees, a sheep, 2 chickens and a backpack with school supplies to help families through World Renew Gift Catalogue.  Each child was asked to fund raise approximately $11 each in order to make the total required.  It was suggested that they do chores but we decided to do something different as he does quite a few chores already.

We made some Chocolate Bark together.  We shopped, prepared and packaged it together (with me getting him to wash his hands 100 times).  He then took his brother and sister, while Gary or I stood on the sidewalk, and went door to door.   He had a very cute speech for every person, `Hi, my name is Kai and I'm your neighbour.  I'm .....'.  Every single person who he spoke to bought one.  Isn't that wild?  


Each bag costs about $1.50-$2.00 to make and he sells them for $3.00.  I asked if he wanted to sell them 2 for $5 in order to sell more quickly.  Kai said, `No, mom.  I don't care if it takes longer to sell them, I want to raise more money to give.'.  It brought me to tears.  This is what I yearn for for my kids.  A giving, caring heart.  Thinking of others.  I'm not saying he's always a wonderful kid but this makes me so thankful.  He's generally encouraging of others (especially his siblings) but he's also competitive and not always the most inclusive.  We have been working on being humble and thinking of others.   


The last batch (Oreo Candy Cane!) has been made and packaged and he is planning on going out tonight to sell it.  All together, after paying me back for supplies (that Callebaut chocolate is expensive!), he will have raised about $60!

I came across this article this morning,  `Are you raising nice kids?' .  It's a good read and a great reminder.  Yes, it's nice to see a great report card or a child happy about a new experience, but it's much greater to see a tender heart.

PS If you ever make chocolate bark to sell, people will not choose Dark Chocolate Craisin so don't even make it :)

Love,
Louise

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vancouver Christmas Market {Giveaway}

This morning we went to the opening of the Vancouver Christmas Market.  It's their 5th anniversary and it runs from Nov. 22-Dec.24th.  If there's anything that we love, it's food.   It's an authentic German Christmas Market full of great treats, mulled wine (or apple cider for the kids!) and many small trinkets.




The kids were able to sample candies and kettle corn.


They were also excited to see Christmas decorations.


They tried some poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes).


They rode the carousel (`I love this Mommy! This is so fun!'.).  

*Note: We went to put Nya on a second time and she was too short so unable to ride the horse.  You need to be 36"*


We tried some hot apple cider which was really, really good.  It was from the Traditional Gluhwein vendor.


The kids had chocolate covered strawberries and cream puffs from `I Love Chocolate'.


And no chocolate was wasted.



Gary tried the Hurricane Potato from Das Kartoffelhaus.



I'm giving away FOUR entries to the Vancouver Christmas Market.  Just enter in the rafflecopter below for your chance to go!  I think it would be a great double date idea....

Love,
The Chapmans

**Disclaimer: We were given tickets to attend the Vancouver Christmas Market and the opinions are my own.**



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Thankful for:

1. Independent Play.  Nya Bear has often wanted me to play with her but now she will play independently for long periods of time.  I bought an ice cream themed play dough set and she has played with it for about an hour a day.  So worth the $10!  Koen has always been so amazing at playing alone and with a daughter that hasn't napped in about a year, I appreciate down time!


2.  Great couples to work with.  I've probably said this before but I'm so thankful for the couples whose wedding days we get to capture in 2015!  

3.  Free tickets!  You guys, I know it seems like I win quite a bit and I do.  Seriously, I should do a whole post about how to win free stuff.  Step 1: Enter blog giveaways which have the best chance of winning! Step 2: Enter at least one contest every day.  I won Max & Ruby tickets for Nya and I valued at about $70.00 total.   Here's an example of a blog you should visit as she has two great prizes to giveaway right now: Bits of Bee. 


4.  A great date with Nya.   I had no idea how she would do with Max & Ruby as she doesn't even watch the show and it was at night.  She LOVED it.  She loved the dancing and the dresses.  So cute.  I just bought tickets to Disney on Ice for us too.  I know a lot of people think why spend money on events if they don't remember them but:

 a) I'd rather spend money on events/experiences than toys.  Usually I go for free experiences but sometimes if it's a highly recommended experience, we'll do more. 

b) Every single experience helps build their brain connections.  It can only help to spend time with mommy in a cool new environment.  Something like 75% of brain development happens by the age of 2! 


5.  Koen loving school.  Oh, does he love it.   He rarely writes for me, but if Ms. L asks him, he's all over it.  The boys both LOVE their out of school care program and I love that they get hours of exercise every day :)


6.  Crisp clear days/evenings.  The mountains are incredible.  I love living where we do.


7.  Creative kids.  Koen is still playing `Trick or Treat' with his stuffies for long periods of time.  Whoever gets the double pack of Swedish Fish is always very lucky.


8.  Nice camera equipment and knowing how to use it.  I love photographing my kids.


9.  Hours of fun on the slide.  It was an outside one but Nya and I cleaned it and brought it in for the winter.  Our kids need to move, move, move.  It provides so much fun for them and is a great way to race cars. The daycare girls loved it too.


10.  Miss Nya FINALLY adjusting to the time change (took two weeks!) and now gets up at 6:45am. PS Can you see the scar (huge indent) at the top of her forehead? It's from when she fell down the front stairs and you can see it when she lifts her eyebrows.


I hope you are having a great week!!  Tell me something you are thankful for today. Please.

Love,
Louise

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Banana Chocolate `Ice Cream'

After my post yesterday about having a sugar reduced diet, a friend recommended that we make Banana Chocolate Ice Cream.  Bananas do have quite a bit of sugar in them (14 grams each) but it's not refined and they are full of nutrients.  I haven't been eating many bananas because of the sugar content but I decided to try it out, besides, what a healthy dessert for the kids!

The recipe is here, and it's so easy. 

In the food processor (or blender) put: 3 frozen sliced bananas, 2 tbsp cocoa, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup of almond milk.  You could use any kind of milk but the almond milk makes it vegan and decreases the sugar.  The riper the bananas, the more sugar so just use that to guide how you want to make it.


It took maybe 3 minutes to make!



All the kids (and adults!) really liked it.  


It tastes like a banana chocolate frosty (you know, from Wendy's).  You have to like a banana flavour though or you probably won't like it.

If you try it, let me know! Next time I will double the recipe as the kids really loved it.  I may also be super awesome and let them have some chocolate chips in theirs :)

Love,
Louise