Happy Birthday Judah

Love him~

Love him~


I remember people telling me when I had my first born to enjoy each moment because they grow up SO fast! At the time I thought, surely it cannot go by that quickly, but I have come to realize now that they were speaking the truth! Today is my son’s 6th birthday and I cannot believe how fast the past 6 years have gone. What a wonderful blessing it has been to have him in our lives. I love watching him grow every day and become an energetic, intelligent, compassionate, loving little boy. He is such a joy! Every year around this time I get weepy because I see him growing up and realize that we will never get these years back:( (I take a lot of video footage!:)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures and memories of my little guy!! I love Him and I love the Lord for giving to him to me and allowing me to priviledge of watching him grow up right before my very eyes!! May His life to a testimony to the greatness and goodness of our God!! Happy 6th Birthday Judah!!

We named him Judah which mean “Praise”. His life truly is a demonstration of praise to our Father!!

The day he was born - April 15, 2007, 8lbs 1oz of perfection!

The day he was born – April 15, 2007, 8lbs 1oz of perfection!

6 month old snuggles:)

6 month old snuggles:)

Attacking his 1st birthday cake!

Attacking his 1st birthday cake!

18 months old

18 months old

Judah turns 2!!

Judah turns 2!!

My little man, 2 1/2yrs

My little man, 2 1/2yrs

3 year old monkey!!!

3 year old monkey!!!

First day of homeschool - 4 years old

First day of homeschool – 4 years old

My 5 year old little stud:)

My 5 year old little stud:)

My handsome 6 year old!! Love him!

My handsome 6 year old!! Love him!

May you enjoy each day and every moment, drink them in slowly because before you know it, they’ll be all grown up and you will have wonderful memories and a lasting legacy of the faithfulness of God:)!

a lesson in everything!

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Many of my readers have asked me how I know what to teach in homeschool? It’s a loaded question because truthfully I don’t know everything that I am going to teach. While I do have a weekly schdedule and have purchased materials and workbooks for language arts, reading and math I tend to leave social science, Bible and life lessons/skills up to the everyday opportunities that present themselves. Honestly, I pray that ask God for wisdom and direction and every week we tend to cover more material and topics that I would have had if I had planned for it:) For example, there was a science lesson that we gleaned this week from our maple syrup tapping and it was fun and interesting for the kids.

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The lesson was simple: We filled up two cups, both with 1/2 cup of water, then to one cup we added a tbsp of sugar. We labeled the sugar cup and put them both in the freezer. Every 15 minutes we would check to see which one was freezing the fastest. We concluded that the water with sugar freezes slower. We learned how this related to the sap in maple trees, how it acts as an antifreeze so that the maple trees dont freeze solid in the winter time!! It was cool and we all learned a little something.

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There are SO many little lessons that we can teach our kids every day, all we need to do is ask the Lord to give us the opportunities and when they present themselves be ok to steer away from the routine and have a little fun. The kids loved the project so much that they wanted to try to put other baking ingredients in water to see how long they would take to freeze:)…interesting how a little experiment can spark such interest and curiosity.

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I must admit that I never thought that I would be tapping my own maple trees and bottling syrup but somehow in the past week that is what I have found myself and my family doing. It has been an adventure. AND a learning process:)

We decided to try to tap 10 trees and see what we got, so far the outcome has exceeded our original expectations. After 5 days of collecting sap we have 3L of syrup meaning that we collected approx 120L of sap and boiled it down!! For those of you who dont know how much that it, its a lot!!!

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It has been fun to find a natural resource and literally tap into it. I am thankful for this wonderful land the Lord has given us.

Ideally, I would love to live on the land completely, to grow and sustain ourselves is a dream of mine, however we are not quite there yet. Our climate up here in Northern Ontario definitely makes it more difficult! (But we are trying to come up with creative ideas to be self sustaining)

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My favorite part of this past week has been watching our kids help us out and get really excited about this new adventure. Judah loves to go out to the trees and collect the sap with us and Mercy is my “most excited” taste tester when we are boiling down the sap:) My husband has been amazing at setting things up, carrying heavy buckets and enjoying the journey with us.

I am convinced that not matter what venture you set out to do as a family that enjoying it TOGETHER is the BEST part!!

May you experience the unity and communion that comes from doing things together as a family!!

we’re far from perfect (guest post)

hi friends, i’m allison (or al) & i blog over at www.afterhissmile.com. i’ve been so blessed by emma’s friendship & wisdom. she recently guest posted on my blog here & i’m honored to do the same on her blog. ūüôā

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so these are our 3 boys… jude, sammy & amos. what a joy they are & what a tool of sanctification! ūüėČ as mommies we often look at others’ lives & honestly believe that they “have it all together”. we think, “how cute their kids are” or “how well behaved”. we only see the seemingly good. we just assume that somehow they are perfect & not swayed by sin & emotion. 
we need to change our view of others… not that we look down on them by knowing they struggle with sin & we for sure don’t rejoice in it, but we find comfort in the fact that there are other mommies that are walking this journey of joys & sorrows, ups & downs, laughter & tears. we have fellowship in this truth with the body of Christ. & we should not just sit in our sin together, we should be spurring one another on to repentance & sanctification. 
i challenge you to surround yourself with a community of mommies that realize their need for the Savior & point you to Him as well!
thanks again emma!
al

The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs!

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Jilllian Jiggs is a wonderful and classic children’s book that my kids love! We have the “Treasury of Jillian Jiggs” which is the complete series of all the Jillian Jiggs books. One of them is called the “Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs”. It’s a really cute story.

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At the end of the book they show you how to make these little sock pigs that Jillian makes in the book. My kiddos had been bugging me for months to make them. SO we finally took an afternoon and made them. They were so fun to make and my kids love them. Mercy takes her pig everywhere with her, and Judah sleeps with his pig, he named him "super pig" and put a cap on him:)

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I would encourage you to make these little pigs if you are looking for a fun craft to do together. All you need is a stocking, some stuffing, a little material for ears, a button for the nose and a needle and thread to sew it all on. You can make them any way you want and add accessories or different colour clothing. I really let the kids decide so each pig is unique and their own special creation. Bottom line is: your kids will love them:)

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May you experience the joy that comes from spending time together, and enjoying the creative gifts that the Lord has placed in your children. It is truly a gift to be a mom!! In the midst of a noisy and often chaotic household I am going to be thankful for this gift and love on them as much as I possibly can!

Mango Freezing!

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Around this time of year, mangos are on sale and rather than buying a box and trying to eat them before they go bad here is another idea…

Mangos are among the most popular fruits to add to smoothies. They add amazing flavour and texture. I bought a huge box this year and cut them up and froze them. It was cost effective, didn’t take much time and now we have frozen mangos for the next couple months to add to our smoothies. Personally I prefer yellow mangos (they are sweetest) but they are all sorts of mangos available these days.

Hopefully to enjoy them as much as we do!

If you need instruction on how to cut a mango to maximize the amount of fruit you get, watch this little youtube:

Here is my favorite mango breakfast smoothie recipe:
1 handful of frozen mango pieces
1 banana, peeled
1/2 cup frozen peaches or 1/2 cup cut up pineapple
1 cup of coconut milk or coconut water
tsp flax seeds
3 ice cubes

Blend for 1 minute and drink immediately!!

Have a blessed day!

Rested and Refreshed!

Our family has been truly blessed this past month! We were away in Florida for just over 2 weeks and it was a wonderful time of refreshing and fun adventures together! I am reminded, everytime I go away with my family, that they truly are the most important thing in my life.
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It is so easy to get caught up in the daily routine of life and allow the simple joy of being together to be lost. As parents we need to remember that our¬†FAMILY¬†IS our¬†FIRST priority. There will always be people wantings your time, others in crisis, problems that need to be solved, events that beg for your time and a to-do list that runs on forever. BUT your children won’t always live under the same roof as you, they won’t always want to snuggle or play or have time for you. Be sure to take advantage of the precious moments everyday and if you are able to¬†getaway – DO IT!
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What a treat it was to experience the wonders of Disney world together and share all the memories that brought us. Also to play in the sand, the pools and have no agenda other than to be together!! I am thankful that the Lord reminds me of this often. I need to be ALWAYS thankful for my amazing husband and beautiful children. And on that thankful note…We ALSO came back from this trip with an exciting announcement. We are going to have another baby!!! I am currently 16 weeks along and looking forward to having this new little one join us in September!
May you experience a refreshing dose of the JOY that family and new life brings!!
All of our beautiful Kids Swimming in Naples
This is a picture of ALL of our children swimming in Florida:)

tiny detours, empowerment & a blessing

IM000068I am blessed to have the below post as a guest post on my wonderful friend Allison’s blog, she is an amazing woman of God who loves¬†the Lord and loves serving her family!¬†check out her blog at www.afterhissmile.com

I don’t know about you but between the constant barrage of tears, tantrums, discipline, questions, hormones, and the lack of adult interaction and sleep¬†I find myself swirrling in a tornado of emotions and feelings that are so strong I can barely keep my footings.

In any given day I can experience emotions of highened joy and laughter and 5 minutes later sadness and doubt about my calling as a mother. So how does one live their life according to their emotions?? THEY DON’T!!

As Christian mothers we have a calling to live our everyday lives by the truth found in the word of God and our faith in Him. You can look at our emotions as tiny detours trying to take us off course. We cannot rely on them, we need to embrace them, feel them, but not allow them distact our responses to our children or to the Lord. (This is easier said than done)

I have found that as I begin to practice this everyday, it becomes easier. Relying on the grace of God, which is His supernatural empowerment, I can do ALL things through Christ. I now look at my emotional struggles as blessings because through them I am being santified to become more like the Lord and the mother I was created to be. My little ones daily witness my constant surrender to the Father as I ask for His forgiveness and theirs:) We are not called to be PERFECT mother we are called to be mothers who are perfected through the grace and mercy of our Lord.

May you be blessed today, may you recieve a fresh impartation of grace and mercy. May the peace and rest be your today as your press against the current of your emotions. And May the joy of the Lord be your strength!!

LOVE-ing my Family

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As a busy mom of three little ones I find being intentional about events and activities to be imperative. I need to plan and organize to get things done. If I don’t plan ahead it is really stressful to make things happen the way I want them to go. (Mom’s you would know this because nothing seems to work out on our timeline when children are involved:)
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Today was one of those days, we had such a wonderful time as a family and the day isn’t even over yet:) I had to plan for it and make an investment ahead of time! We had a wonderful breakfast and devotional together this morning, went to music class, did school, went to homeschool skating and are now getting ready to make heart-shaped pizzas!!
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I have found that being purposeful and intentional about loving my family and making memories together brings such joy!
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Today, as we focus on LOVE I am reminded of how deeply the Father has loved us, that He would send His son for us. Now that I have a son I can somewhat relate to this concept and I cannot imagine the depth if love it would take to give one child’s life up for my other children! I am SO thankful that his ways are higher than ours!
You are his beloved. Do you know that? No matter what state you are in you are love by God, you were His dream and you are worth SO much to Him!!
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If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. ¬†Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. (1 Corinthians 13:3-7 MSG)
588May you know His great LOVE for you today!!

Cleaning Fruits and Veggies

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I have had a number of requests from readers asking: “do you buy all organic fruit and veggies and if not, how do I clean them?” Well I do not buy¬†ALL organic fruits and veggies, especially in the winter months when they are SO expensive!

During the summer we recieve a CSA share which is locally grown veggies and I try to buy most other fruit and veggies at the local farmers market but in the winter I simply buy them at the grocery store and eat berries that have been frozen from the summer.

I used to buy special fruit and veggie spray, but after researching some of the chemicals they put in the sprays I decided to wash the old fashion way with vinegar and water.

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I fill our sink up and add a small amount of vinegar, I put in the fruit or veggies and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes depending on the items (strawberries, cucumber and other things that have soft outside I let sit longer to ensure that they get cleaned) All the other hard fruit I let sit for 10 minutes. Then I scrub them and rinse thoroughly. I place them on a tea towel and dry them off and then put them back in the fridge.

Whether you buy organic or non-organic fruits and veggies, the fact is that it is all dirty from chemicals and being handled by several people between the orchard and your fridge. It ALL NEEDS thorough cleaning!!

Be blessed!!

may my life be…

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As I sit here this morning, overwhelmed with birthday wishes and amazing memories of the past 31 years of life, I am truly thankful. I am thankful for family, for friends and for years of laughter. I am thankful for hard time and tears, for situations that I thought were impossible but over time have proven to be miracles. I am most especially thankful to the One who gave me life. I feel like the depth of love, joy and passion that I experience in this life come from Him. His abundant love for me brings me to my knees, the fact that He gave me this life and dreamt me into being amazes me. I do experience life and life abundant. I breathe in a deep sense of satisfaction, peace and contentment with who I am and where I am today. (this was not always the case) I give credit to the One who gives me purpose and who is the author of deep peace and rest. The song below was written by my brother-in-law Sean Dayton, I woke up singing it:) The words a mirrored reflection of my heart, and a majestic landscape of what is to come!

may my life be an offering of praise

all I have, Lord, I lay it at your feet

not just a song but the sweetest melody

I give you my life…

purify all that’s hidden in my heart

a sacrifice, Lord, I desire to bring

not just a song, or the sweetest melody

I give you my life…

I’m living for your glory, I’m living for your fame

In view of your great mercy, I bow down at your feet

Lord your mercy has paved a way for me

to bring a holy and pleasing offering

not just a song or the sweetest melody

I give you my life…

May you experience the deep love and peace that comes from knowing the One who gave you life! Have a wonderful day!