My Santa is now with Jesus

With a “ho ho ho”

And “good night to all”

Little wishes came alive

From a room down the hall.

 

Santa IS real,

And he is my grandpa.

 

He loves us openly,

And spoils us twice yearly.

Not missing one birthday party,

We love him back dearly!

 

Santa IS real,

And he is my grandpa.

 

But life is about more than presents,

Grandpa believes this, through and through.

He prays at every meal,

And takes us to church, too.

 

MY Santa is faithful,

And he acts like Jesus.

 

The door is always open,

“Come again very soon”,

(And if you are quite wise,

You would plan to arrive by noon.)

 

MY Santa is hospitable,

And he acts like Jesus.

 

“That’s enough, you guys”

Is as mean as he got.

With a wink and a smile,

It’s laughter he sought.

 

MY Santa is gentle,

And he acts like Jesus.

 

So, my grandparents are Santa and Mrs Claus

It’s no big deal, really.

They have grandkids around the world,

And they love them all fiercely.

 

You can come with any problem,

Mrs Claus will pray nightly,

And when you just need a hug,

Santa will hold you tightly.

 

But as their age begins to find them,

It’s us who need to pray.

Make it known they are not alone,

Because of them, the world is changed.

 

Let’s be like Jesus.

xo

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Grandpa’s one last kiss

No matter how many tears fall from my eyes,

Nor how many times I wash my face,

The warmth of your lips on my cheek

Will never go away.

 

You took your time,

Giving me one last kiss goodbye,

The depth of that memory

In my heart will never fade.

 

A lifetime of strength,

A childhood of loving kindness

Was all wrapped up and completed

Before I left that day.

 

Now your dream has come true

Meeting those you never knew.

I already miss you,

But I will hold on to my one last kiss goodbye

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What side of the pond do you live on?

This morning as I walked with the Bernedoodle, I decided to reverse the order of our usual route. (I like to shake things up to keep it fresh). When we started at the pond where we would normally end, I noticed something I had not seen before. We could continue on the paved path, winding behind the usual houses and passing the Canadian Geese, or we could deviate from our path and go on a short green lane, clearly not often travelled (as it is a dead end). The answer was clear to me, as I veered left and took the Bernedoodle onto the grass. The trees and bushes cleared and I saw several black ducks swimming together, feeding, and being as quiet as could be. A calm hush hovered over the water.

The Bernedoodle and I stepped right up to the pond’s edge and stood there for several minutes, watching this new bit of nature. The ducks would curiously come closer to land to check us out, swim away, and come back. Neither party was bothered by the other, we were simply enjoying the day and each other. Not more than three chirps came from the group of ducks. I haven’t been in such peaceful quiet in a while and I enjoyed every moment, loving my new reflection spot and wondering what it is I am meant to learn from this experience.

It was time to continue, so we walked back the way we came, and soon joined our usual path again. Within steps the noisy Canadian Geese, which were behind bushes and we could not even see, were honking and carrying on to letting us know they knew we were there. They reminded me very much of the crabs on Finding Nemo. Annoying, I think, is the word I am politely trying to use as I was pulled from my peaceful state of mind. It was at that moment when I had the thought question me; “What side of the pond do you live on?”. What a simple reminder of the world we live in! I decided to think about this question for a few minutes.

We moved off the path and took our stroll closer to the backyards, and immediately the geese stopped. I also started to notice the beautiful flowers growing  along home owners’ fences. I paused to gasp as I saw several clusters of gorgeous deep purple grapes being sweetened by the recent frost. It was then that the still voice added “there is still beauty, even in today’s world. You just have to get off the path every once in a while”. Wow! Even when I am so prone to getting caught up in the kids, work, house cleaning, and all the other things I enjoy doing but start to run me dry, I can “get off the path” to refresh and refocus. Even when the world is ‘honking’ at me and telling me what direction to go in, what I need for my life, and what I should think is important; even then I have a choice to make. What will I choose? What will you choose?

Beauty is everywhere, I really do believe that. It shows itself as kindness, loving acts, selfless deeds, in nature and many other places. So I ask you, what side of the pond do you live on? Have you placed yourself somewhere you can hear that still voice? Maybe your challenge today is to lessen the outside influences so that you can refocus. If you are not at a place you can avoid the noise right now, can you get off the path for a while? Take some time to refresh before you get back into the loud noise of our world.

Every day is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5

xo

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Products I’m Loving and One Little Word 2018

Happy Wednesday! It has been a while since I sat to write a post. I decided to combine two posts into one, because they are directly related to each other. I will try not to get overly passionate and make this blog longer than it needs to be…

First, my theme word for this year is CARE. Both to care more, and practice more self-care. Caring more, to me, will mostly be in the area of my children.  I hope it will look like;

  1. More patience
  2. When the kids are upset, try and understand the root of their frustration
  3. Respond in love
  4. Take time to listen, less time to respond
  5. Care about their passions and interests
  6. Continue to invest into them

My goals for self-care are;

  1. Don’t overfill the calendar
  2. When asked to take on a commitment, think “Can I afford to lose sleep during that time?” (I am a planner. It keeps me awake at night.)
  3. Take time to listen to podcasts that use the Word of God and inspire growth
  4. Spend time in God’s Word daily
  5. Eat healthy and make good choices
  6. Make marriage and time with Cam a priority
  7. Pay attention to my heart, use Proverbs 4:20-27 as my guide

If I seem more prepared than usual, its because I had an entire plane ride to write these thoughts out 😀 . Reading over this list again reminds me of all that I need to work on, but it also inspires me to continue on some of the progress that I have made! Not a bad way to end February.

Next, and far more fun…The products that I am currently loving! Each one is something I use frequently, and so they tie into my own self care. I will note before I begin that I was not asked to write about any of these products, and paid out of pocket for them all. Nothing is a promotional item.

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I picked up this shampoo and conditioner from Hannas Seeds yesterday, but it is already my most favourite set that I have ever used. The scent instantly makes me feel like I am at a luxury spa, and my hair is very soft. My kids have been using Rocky Mountain Soap on their bodies for a few months already, and I am so glad I took the plunge for myself!

Note: Did you know that kids absorb more toxins than adults? Their skin is thinner and their bodies are smaller. Google the topic to learn more! It is why I switched to Rocky Mountain Soap Co for them, and I have been very pleased with the pump top bottles that control how much the kids use. I haven’t replaced any of the bottles yet!

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By picture two, you are probably catching on to my theme here. Toxin free deodorant is becoming very popular. I am aware of the link between Alzheimers and aluminum, and that has pushed me to find a healthy way to smell better. I actually struck out many times on different brands, and mostly just made my own deodorant which left me with rashes from too much baking soda. But then Facebook pointed me in the direction of Native Cos, and I haven’t looked back! This deodorant ACTUALLY works. The coconut vanilla is my favourite. I have signed up for a subscription that mails me a new stick every two months. Signing up for a subscription saves you about $2 per bar, plus you don’t have to remember to order more. I chose to go with every other month shipping because I don’t go through a bar a month. I still have some left from two months ago and just got another bar. I am okay with this!

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You had to guess that one thing I am loving is chocolate, right?! I work at Chocolates By Bernard Callebaut, owned by Cococo Chocolatiers. It is far superior to any chocolate I have had, and they don’t use any artificial preservatives. But thats not even why I am loving it so much right now.

See that little green frog in the middle? Thats a symbol for the Rainforest Alliance. Our company worked hard to attain that amphibian on our chocolate. Why does it matter? Because deforestation is a problem, which would lead to no more chocolate. But that isn’t even the saddest part. One of the worst industries for using child labor is the harvesting of cocoa pods. Read that over and over. Its horrific, its real, and it is likely happening in every piece of chocolate that you are consuming that does not support fair trade. A.k.a, cheap chocolate. Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars – they are guilty. As I started to research the topic more, my heart broke. I decided right then that I could not give my children chocolate that came at the hands of someone else’s child. Think of your 12 year old climbing up a ladder to chop down a cocoa pod with a machete, then having to reach the ground again and strike that pod with that same knife to open it. Cheap chocolate still comes at a price, and thats not a price I want to pay. If you want more information, here is one article that I read.

Because Westcoast Africa relies heavily on its cocoa industry, it is hard to know if even your fair trade chocolate has come from a sustainable farm with good ethical practices. However, these organizations are working hard to change things, and buying chocolate from Chocolates By Bernard Callebaut makes me feel like I am helping the change, instead of furthering the child labor problem. I can deal with that!

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Finally, the most shocking product for this matcha-loather… My very own bag of green tea powder. I attended a tea tasting for a friend who was beginning to sell Steeped Tea. I assured her that I do not drink hot drinks of any kind, I am not a fan. She told me to come anyway, and I am so glad she did! Green tea has huge benefits, and consuming it in powder form is a much better way to get those benefits than to drink it as a tea. The downside? Matcha tastes like rabbit food. It even smells like rabbit food. However, Steeped Tea does something different. They flavour it! They also recommend that you add it to orange juice. That is how I first tried the coconut matcha green tea – mixed with some OJ. It was actually quite nice, and I bought a bag that afternoon. I also bought a stainless steel shaker, which I now use to blend my smoothies with the matcha powder. It keeps my smoothie from melting for a few hours! I get pretty excited about it.

I have a few more products that I could have added to this post, but I will save those for next time! Thanks for hanging on this far. Have any ideas of what I might love? Leave a comment!

Enjoy the sunshine, everyone.

xo

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Flyer Shopping: Is It Worth It?

Happy December! How did that happen? Our fall is almost gone, and that is okay with me. It means we are that much closer to Spring!

During November, I made a concentrated effort to look through the flyers to find the best deals. November was tricky with two birthdays, an ear infection, unexpected travel, etc. However, I still did my best to stick to the plan. Let me tell you, it was only done out of a love for you guys! I have not missed sorting through flyers. What I found is that my meal plan often did not line up with what was on sale, so it really did not come in handy, and was just a lot of work. I also found I had to go to the store more often, because I was going to multiple stores and not just one or two.

I spent about $675 this month, which is roughly $150 more than last month. Because there was not a significant savings, or ANY savings, I will NOT be relying on flyers – ever. They are fun to look through when you are daydreaming about Christmas, but other than that, they are not for me. I will still likely go when they have case lot sales and deals like that, but when planning to shop for my week’s worth of groceries, I will stick to my local No Frills.

So there you have it. This post is short and sweet, so you can get on with your Christmas prep:
In the end, meal planning wins the day and saves you money. Sticking to your list and finding a good grocer with low prices is going to get you the best bang for your buck. Hopefully you save those dollars and pay off debt, and then celebrate with a warm vacation! One can dream. That is where you will find me – dreaming of shorts weather…

If you have comments, suggestions, or other thoughts, leave me a message!

xo

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No Frills vs other Grocers

Before I begin, I need to note that I found one last receipt for September, and it was from Costco 😦 ! That put me over $650 in groceries for the month of September.

October has come and gone! To recap, during September I shopped as normal, picking up what I needed at whatever store was closest, making sure to stick to a strict meal plan. For October I committed to only shop at No Frills while doing a meal plan again, and I was very happy with the results! However, October was pretty tricky with scheduling, and we did have to eat out a few times. Our grocery bill was about $425, but I am going to add $100 to that total because of our eating out. But STILL, that is a significant savings and I am all “Mom excited” about it.

For November, I plan to search flyers and shop according to who has the best deal on what I need. I am not really looking forward to it because it will be more work. But knowing the best way to shop is worth it!

Thanks for sticking around. Happy November! And happy birthday to my main red haired kiddo

xo

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Adulting 101: The dreaded budget

Budgeting is not my forte. I know that I am frugal and like to make the most of what I can, use what we have, and buy cheaper on most things. However, I can be talked into ordering supper without much of a fight and this adds up FAST. I want to curb that temptation. I have decided to cut out extra spending the only way I know how:

Meal planning.

Meal planning cuts out the need to grab supper on the go. It keeps me organized and accountable, and I love having the question “what are we having for supper” answered before everyone gets up for the day. I put my meats for the week in the fridge on Sunday or Monday, so they are thawed and ready to use. I would absolutely hate to have perfectly good meat go bad, so I need to use the meat that is ready to go. I have found this method very successful so far!

My plan for the next few months is to decide ahead of time how I will shop for an entire month, keep all my receipts, and then blog about it at the end. I know I was spending far too much at the store by not making meal plans, but it is hard to know exactly how much, where I was going wrong, and what is worth my time and what isn’t (for instance, I have decided that making tortilla wraps may not be worth my time…but making our own bread and some school snacks definitely is). I won’t end up spending more than I did before, and I can also see what method of shopping works best for my family. Hashtag winning, anyone?! Moving on.

For the month of September, I created a detailed supper plan and shopped accordingly. My main grocery store is No Frills, but I also use Costco for fresh vegetables and some other things we go through quickly. I like to flyer shop as well, so I did visit Sobeys and Co-op once each this month, and was happy with the deals I came out with. You cannot get every brand at No Frills, so it is helpful to shop around sometimes.

My monthly total for groceries was just over $500. (I will add right now that we already have our meat in the freezer, so that is not accounted for.) I KNOW that I lost a receipt, so unfortunately I do not have an exact total, which annoys me. C’est la vie! I also had a day where I forgot to put the supper in the slow cooker, missed bringing after school snack in the van for the kids so I had to go buy granola bars, had the dog eat the granola bars that one of my darling children left in the van… what I am saying is, there were a few unexpected expenses, but overall not too bad! I was happy with the outcome.

For October my plan is to again stick to my meal plan, but only shop at No Frills for my grocery needs. I look forward to seeing how much Costco does or does not save us! With a holiday coming up this month, I am interested to see how much our finances are affected. My goal is to not see much of a change 🙂

Until next month. Keep up the good work everyone,

xo

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