3 in 30 April Week Two


  1. a) Something that needs to be done daily (Stop, Start or Continue)

Go for a walk, or some form of exercise each day, as I continue to drink more water. Well, the water thing is going ok, the walk thing 3 out of 7 days. Need to work on that.
  1. b) One time practical project that needs to be knocked off the 2011 list.

Paint the Downstairs Bathroom
I have not started this project as the SUN finally came out in Niagara and decided to spend those hours outside cleaning up the yard, etc.
  1. c) Personal Creative Project

Bake bread (from scratch); Up my blogging to twice a week consistently.
I have also not made the bread (went for squash soup instead) and I’m lucky to have gotten this blog in by today (Sunday – not because I’ve been busy, but because I’m trying to adjust to all the changes in my life and I’ve been in a rut when it comes to writing – a rut based on fear and lack of focus. I”m hoping to change that starting today.

100 Things About Me (you may or may not have wanted to know) Part 3


This entry is part of an ongoing project to keep me writing. If you would like to read part ONE click here. To read part TWO click here.

22. Home-making

This is a subject that is close to my heart. I wholeheartedly believe that one of the most important things I am to do in life as a woman, wife and mom, is to make my house a home. To give myself completely to giving my family a home that provides rest, comfort, inspiration, safety and the ability to flourish and thrive. It’s not just about the décor (though it is essential that how my house looks and feels is a reflection of those who occupy it). It is more than just home-cooked meals (though another important component) – it is about HOW we live in our home. It is about WHO we are as a family. It is meant to be a HOLY place where hearts can be a rest.

23. Parenting

The day I became a mom was the best day of my life following the day I met Christ. It is closely followed by the day I became a wife. I don’t know how to explain it other than a sense of purpose settled in on my heart and I was forever irrevocably changed. I remember holding my baby boy for the first time and staring into his huge newborn eyes and feeling like, whoa – I am entering into a who new world, but at least we’re going it together!

24. School vs Home school

This subject scares me. Only because of the dedication I know it would require from me – and I’m somewhat selfish, especially with my time. I believe in homeschooling, only because I have little faith in the public system. No one cares about my children as much as I do. No one should. Honestly, I see parenthood as a privilege to pour into them not just my knowledge and love but my values and other fundamental learning skills. Skills like curiosity, creativity, dedication, communication, follow-through, problem solving, prioritizing, budgeting, investing, etc. Things that I just can’t expect from any school, even a good one – because they are my values – how I look at using these skills in life, not necessarily values held by a majority. That’s why I think homeschooling is the best option – because with proper curriculum I can ensure that these skills are passed on. Though at the present, I don’t home school, and I LOVE the school my kids are in, homeschooling is something that is always a consideration, and always an option. Even if it’s not right “right now” for us.

25. Daddy

I was not ready for goodbye… (I’m not ready to tackle this one yet – stay tuned…)

26. Music) Theater

This is another great passion of mine. As a side note I should mention that I love theater alone too though I prefer music theater above and beyond it. I love watching musical theater – live and recorded; both professional and non-professional shows. Some of my favorites I’ve seen live are Les Miserables; The Phantom of the Opera; The Lion King, The Sound of Music (stage version); South Pacific; My Fair Lady; & Annie. I’ve been involved onstage (Grease; Bye Bye Birdie; Little Shop of Horrors; My Fair Lady; Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) I’ve also been backstage (the Wizard of Oz; Lovers in Midsummer; A Christmas Carol and countless religious plays/ musicals) I’ve been in the Box Office and been an usher and have even tried my hand at writing, directing and producing. I’ve loved every aspect that I’ve been involved in – loved it… I am fortunate to live where I do an hour from both Toronto and Buffalo – home to large theater districts and down the road from the Shaw Festival in NOTL. Every year I peruse the handbill of the upcoming shows to decide which ones to scrimp and save for. The past 2 years, on Tuesday nights I am like a kid at Christmas watching the television version of Music Theater – Glee. It makes me happy, sincerely happy.

27. NYC

New York City is on my Top 10 list of places to visit. The history of the city is fascinating, the glamour of Manhattan, the mix of cultures, Broadway, shopping, Christmas Time, Central Park, the bustle and opportunities to people watch… I can’t wait til I can go visit.

28. School of Music

One of the best times of my life was the 2 years I was a student at SoMM and they were only surpassed by the 5 years I was on staff. I loved the constant creativity, the challenges of having so many people with so many different gifts and passions and working together to find a way to glorify God with our gifts. I loved our teachers, I loved being a mentor. I still love my students. I loved my fellow staff members and the deans. I loved travelling with our gifts and sharing them for God. I loved walking the journey on an intimate level with friends that have become lifetime friends. I loved learning so much on so many levels – it was definitely not just classroom learning but life learning as the challenges and opportunities to grow came at us on every front – personally, spiritually, artistically, educationally, relationally and professionally. Kind of like how our life in Christ is really supposed to be. It was a beautiful time in my life…

29. Gardening

I discovered my love of the Garden in our first year of marriage. I mean I helped my dad a bit growing up and learned a lot, but I didn’t love it. It was work, and it was a chance to hang with dad. After we purchased our first home I came to LOVE it. The yard was a blank slate – since hubby works for a tree nursery – we had the opportunity to plant whatever we wanted for next to nothing. We spend hours drawing up plans, reading materials about what to plant, when and where…I can say this. No amount of planning compares to what you learn by just digging in and get going. We made a lot of mistakes and had to rip out a lot of what we first planted. At our next home, we built upon another man’s foundation of a beautiful garden and pond/ waterfall – learned a lot there. At our current home, we’ve had to basically rip out almost everything – but the rewards are worth it. We also had space for a substantial veggie garden – this year will be my 4th summer. I’m so excited. My kids are starting to get into it too. My gardens have become my favourite part of spring and summer.

30. Favorite Authors – Some of my all time favourite reads have been:

a. Fiction

i. Jane Austen (All); Lucy Maude Montgomery (Anne Series); Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)

ii. Vince Flynn; Dan Brown; Higgins Clark; James Rollins; Robert Ludlum; Kathy Reichs – Mystery/ Thrillers

iii. Ken Follet – Fall of Giants; Pillars of the Earth

b. Finance/ Investing

i. Robert & Kim Kyosaki – Rich Dad Poor Dad/ Rich Woman

ii. Mark Victor Hansen – One Minute Millionaire

c. Missions/ Spiritual Growth

i. Sarah Ban Breathnach – Simple Abundance

ii. Don Richardson – Peace Child; Eternity in their Hearts

iii. Rick Joyner – The Final Quest

iv. Stormie Omartian – Prayer that Changes Things

v. Craig Groeschel – It

vi. Joseph Price – Destined to Reign

vii. CS Lewis – The Screwtape Letters; Mere Christianity; The Problem of Pain

d. Relationships

i. Marilyn Hickey; James Dobson; Tim Kimmel – Family

ii. Pat Williams – Coaching Your Kids to Be Leaders

iii. Kevin Leman – The Birth Order Book; Sheet Music

There are Many, MANY more. But these were some of the ones that came to mind first. I love reading. Whew, made it to 30 – I think I’m going to have to write “less” about each point to make it to 100 by 100 posts!

I know it’s late… here’s my looking back highlights from 2010

I’m going to Make this a TOP TWELVE (one for each month)

Reflections on 2010:

1. January Superbowl Party at the Church
2. February My Birthday with My Boys at Home
3. March Spring Break in Niagara Great Grandma visited; The Maple Sugar bush
St. Patty’s Day at home; my Nephew Aaron arrived.
4. April Awana at Bethany Church on Monday nights
Easter at Stephanie’s
5. May Soccer – watching Max playing with his shadow rather than playing soccer
Learning to drive standard with Becky (laughing a lot)
6. June Lucas’ SK Graduation
Spending hours in my gardens
Zoos Season Passes
7. July Canada Day with the Karanfilis’ and My sistas
Winery Tours with Becky
8. August Camping with Andrea and the Boys
Camping with other moms/kids (Jodi; Monica; Sarah and Christine)
Visiting Grandma’s Trailer (the boys infatuation with beer bottle caps)
9. September Steph and Cam’s Labour Day Party – AWE…SOME!
Carter starting his last year of daycare with Julie.
Max starting SK; Lucas starting Grade One.
10. October Pumpkin Patch Visit with Monica and the kids.
Norfolk County Fair with Geema. (Chris’ mom)
Thanksgiving at Home
Trick or Treating with Andrea, Eric and the boys over by Jack’s house.
11. November Girls night for mom’s birthday at Jack’s
Making Over our Bedroom
Blogging & Decorating My House
12. December Organizing the Kids Gift Giveaway
Our Christmas Eve “Service” at Home
New Year’s Eve at the Tolhoek’s

3 in 30 Update – February Week 3

My goals for February are:

1. Make lunches for EVERYONE the night before.
2. Organize the Office (again), especially the library.
3. Start to work on my writing again.

How did this past week go?

It’s been a great week.

What did you get accomplished?

Lunches were made every night. Yes!!! Hubby even pitched in with this one.

I did get started on some writing… it’ll take a bit to get in the groove.

What did you not get accomplished?

The office did not get done on the 10-11th. It may have to get moved to March since I’m going away at the end of the month and this weekend is chalk full of birthdays and family events.


I have a very supportive community of friends and family. They incourage me in so many ways. For my birthday last week, my friend Estelle gave me a very encouraging note. I’m thankful that my friends know me so well. I was given a journal and purple candles (Estelle); Essential Oils and Gift Cards (Sheri) and Cooking Herbs and a lovely red bowl (with hearts on it). That encouraged me. As well as our Bible Study discussion on Philippians 1 and Nehemiah.

Chocolate-Skor Trifle

As promised, here’s the recipe for the dessert I made for Valentines Day. I got the recipe from dear hubby’s aunt Mildred. It is alway a hit and is so easy to throw together when you don’t have time to make a fussy dessert.

Chocolate-Skor Trifle
Step One
One Bite Brownies (chewy)
2 boxes instant chocolate mousse
2 cupsmilk
2 cups whipping cream
3 skor bars

Aunt Mildred uses the one bite brownies, which are soft and chewy and I recommend them.

I however had some chewy ones leftover from Lucas’ class party so used them instead. (make sure they are small chunks)
You will need to to fend of vultures from the ingredients.

Step Two
Put the skor bars into a ziploc bag and bash them into tiny pieces.

Step Three

Add the milk to the mousse mix and blend.
Step Four
Blend the whipping cream.

Step Five
Layer bottom of trifle bowl with 1/2 the brownies.

Step Six

Cover with a layer of 1/2 of the chocolate mousse.
Step Seven
Cover with a layer of 1/2 of the whipping cream.

Step Eight
Sprinkle with half of skor bits.
Repeat steps 5-8 layering remaining brownies, mousse, whipping cream and skor bits.
Let set in the fridge for 30 mins or more.
Serve. Voila. Easy (very unhealthy). Very yummy!
Let me know if you try it and if you like it J

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a big day at our house. Since we are pretty affectionate people, it is one of our favourite holidays, but it is also my birthday so we really celebrate!
Here is a play by play of how we celebrated…

First we purchase the “supplies” aka favourite valentine candy
‘deck the halls’ in the days leading up to the BIG day:
Then we make valentines for the kids classes (no pics) and the “treats” for the class parties (also no pics) and my friends…
This year I did not feel like hosting a big party, and we are on a strict budget for investing reasons, so we didn’t want to go out (plus we actually enjoy celebrating with our kids) – so I decided to have coffee at Starbucks (a treat) with some girlfriends (who didn’t have to work) while my good friend Julie watched Carter for me at her daycare. We had such a lovely inspiring visit Y (and they gave me some very lovely…you know me kind of gifts – Thanks again!)
I must also mention that I have a couple of longstanding friends with whom I celebrate our combined birthdays on the date in between our bdays (one end of Jan and one end of Feb) – i love this tradition and I love these girls.
We decide on our menu a week ahead and who will cook it (hubby always offers – but I truly enjoy cooking, so it’s more a treat for me to cook without kids underfoot)
My Firstborn took this pic of the cook J

This year’s menu:
Strawberry Spinach salad with almonds, red onion and feta
with my secret salad dressing & Garlic Toasts

Chicken Breast Tourtinere’s (bacon wrapped chicken breast rounds)
Steamed Green Beans with Red Peppers

Fettucini with Rose sauce (hubby’s request)
How much do I LOVE this lovely red bowl with hearts YYY on it!!! Thank you Jodi Taylor for the bday gift!
Dessert: Double Delicious Skor Trifle (recipe post to follow) & Fruit Tray

We wear red,

I open gift(s)
This year i got the XBOX Kinect Zumba (yay)

and a love letter. (my only request)

Hubby puts on the soft music, we light candles, we eat.
We do the Birthday thing…
He cleans up (such a treat); draws me a bubble bath (another treat) and puts the boys to bed (need I say more?) then I get to choose the movie (we went with The Kings Speech – AWESOME)…the rest of the night is….
none of your business J

Top Ten from January 2011

Top Ten from January 2011:
1. Fort Day – we built a massive fort in the living room and left it up for 3 days. Everyone used it together and separately, Chris and I even watched a movie in it since all the chairs were out of the way. It was cozy.
2. Snow Day – we had two this year. They were awesome. I wrote about the first one here.
3. Max’s Birthday Party – though it was for his 5th which was in 2010 – we celebrated with his friends on the 22nd. It was awesome celebrating him.

4. Shared Bday dinner with Lisa VanTol – my friend since 1994. Love that girl. Her bday is Jan 9th, mine February 14th – so we go out on Jan. 27th – right in between both.
5. Winter Hike with Max’s SK class to Burgoyne Woods. Love that place. It was freezing cold, but lots of fun. Loved getting to know the other moms that helped out.
6. Was inspired talking to Wanita May, one of the other moms on the field trip. She was inspired to write some novels after her father passed away, and now she’s getting published. You never know until you just go for it, and life is too short not to go for it. Thanks Wanita!
7. I really enjoyed teaching in the Kids Club this month. We joined together with the Jr. Youth and it was so cool seeing them work together with the younger kids and to just be there to witness the energy and interest in the things of God.

8. We worked a lot on one of our properties that was left in a disastrous state. We (along with some help from our friends) got it painted, renovated, cleaned and rented out again. We also managed to rent out the basement at that property and the basement at the property we live in now.

9. Working with an exterminator at our home, and not seeing any mice (or feces) for over a month now – woot!
10. Joining the 3 in 30 challenge blog. Working on 3 goals in 30 days (ie – a month) and having the accountability and fuel to keep at it.

February 3 in 30 – Roll Call

This week flew by. Husband was in Boston, we had a snow day, and then the youngest got sick so that basically kept us homebound a good chunk of this week.

My goals for February are:

1. Make lunches for EVERYONE the night before.
2. Organize the Office (again), especially the library.
3. Start to work on my writing again.

Plan of Attack
1. þ Make sure I’ve stocked the house with items that make it easier.
Perhaps even make a “plan” to get me started. Put it on the fridge so I see it.

This week, I did make lunches for the boys each night, and I only slipped in packing one for myself once.

2. þ Set a date for Office Overhaul (2 days). Feb. 10-11th
Create system for filing, get boxes for the “donate” and “trash” piles, etc.
Have a plan for making the room “pretty”
Do a Goodwill run at the end of the 2 days.
This task seems overwhelming today because I’ve had a bit of an overwhelming week, but as the day nears to starting, I’m conserving my courage to attack it.

3. Pull out my notebooks, etc.
Create a “master” journal/file to pull things together and just get to it.
Make a vision board, so I am more inspired each day to think on it and write.

This goal has not even registered on the radar yet. But the fact that it’s here in black and white, well, that’s enough to get the juices flowing…

I’m encouraged by the other members of 3 in 30, it’s inspiring to read about all the different goals we have, yet strangely they feel like they are coming from similar desires for a fulfilling life, godliness and family/home building. It’s cool to be a part of it.

3 in 30 Encouragement

It’s Words of Encouragement Week… (I was late last week, but made it this week! yay)
So, my goals for January were:

1. Stick to the meal/exercise plan which will help me lose the weight.

2. Drink eight glasses of water a day.

3. Finish 2 of my 10 Winter Goals for work.

How’d it go THIS WEEK?

Point One: Another Choppy Week for me in the food/exercise goal… ahead another week, a fresh new start. I tried to do my xbox kinect exercise program and hit a glitch which rendered me useless. Need to find another way to exercise in the great white north…

Point Two: I’ve been pretty much on track with this, but need to amp it up a bit more.

Point Three: Another very good week, I got a lot done off my lists despite many meetings that limited my time, and I also managed to get alot done at home too.

Again, in the goal area it’s been up and down, but in the living and loving area, I’ve had another good week. I finished another book, only blew up at the husband once, I visited with friends and loved on my kids, cooked 3 really good dinners (and had leftovers twice) stayed caught up at home, had a couple good thinking/praying/ breathing times…

What encouraged me this week? that first book I read:

By Julie Barnhill

Led me to attend this event that I heard about:

During which I spent some good time with my mom. Always encouraging.



Citrus Chicken with Rice and Buttery Green Beans

I don’t consider myself a food blogger, however, I do seriously enjoy cooking and I rarely ever use a recipe and even when I do, I usually alter it so much I can only honestly say i was “inspired” by it. My method is to open the fridge and pantry doors, look at what I have that is either a) on the side of almost past due or about to rot; b) in excess (usually due to a sale) and add it to what I imagine it would taste good with. My dad taught me this method and it has honestly rarely ever let me down. Then I usually either check out my collection of cookbooks or Google it, look for a basic how to (so as I don’t over/undercook it) and then close the book/ page, and begin.

I’d like to start out by saying that I have no idea how Pioneer Woman does this unless she has someone helping her. It is very difficult to take pics while cooking and it takes much longer to just get the meal finished. I followed her primer from here and maybe it just takes practice. Anyways, here’s my humble PW attempt:

Citrus Chicken with Rice and Buttery Green Beans
I had an abundance of leftover clementines from Christmas that were all rough on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, and I had chicken breasts in the freezer…
I peeled the clementines.
I put them in the blender.
I blended them. (about 1 cup of juice/pulp)
I added about 3 garlic cloves that I pressed with my Pampered Chef garlic press.
I love my garlic press. She is my favourite kitchen gadget.

I added about 2-3 tbsp ground ginger. Fresh grated woud have been better. (just sayin)

added about 1 tbsp soy sauce.
I roughly chopped 2 green peppers and I medium onion.
i put them into my Pampered Chef rectangle stone (I only roast with stones)
with the thawed chicken breasts.

I melted half a cup of butter.

I added it to the clementine mixture in the blender.

I opened a can of pineapple slices.

I poured the pineapple juice in the mixture in the blender.

I blended it.

I put the pineapple slices on top of the chicken and veggies and then
sprinkled with salt and pepper.

I poured the mixture over the pan.

I baked in a 350° oven for 40 mins.
Then i used cornstarch to save time thickening the sauce,
but you can use flour too.

Served over rice of your choice with green beans. Yummy!
Let me know what you think. Y t