Ticket To Ride

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life, Recipe Box (1 Comment)

Ticket to Ride

My husband purchased the game Ticket to Ride last month. We had friends of ours over on Canada Day for a BBQ celebration. While the children ran inside and out, played lego, watched a movie and basically entertained themselves, the adults played this game. It seemed pretty complicated when DH started reading us the instructions but once you start playing, it’s easy, fun and addictive. During the month of July, we were able to get together with friends three times for a meal, fellowship and of course our game, switching up who hosted.

The other night we had a wonderful evening with the same friends. Chloe baked a blueberry pie (with help of course!). Our crust turned out great; I always use the same pie crust recipe but the I tried the Betty Crocker pie filling recipe and it wasn’t anything special. I guess I’m still on the hunt for just the right recipe.

We also made some pudding filled tarts for those of us (me!) who are trying to lose weight and still want to indulge. For these I cheated and bought Tenderflake frozen tarts and then made fat free chocolate pudding {we also made some lemon ones) and topped it with the light cool whip. Two nicely filled tarts for 5 Points seems pretty good, except that I ate 4 (two while John and I made them and two during the party) so it ended up being 10 points but it was a special night so I guess that’s allowed.

Anyway if you are looking for a fun board game that will entertain adults and children alike {and help you learn geography if it’s not your strong suit}, go look up Ticket to Ride. We have the North America version and our friends have the Europe version so it’s neat to get to switch it up.

We’re off to visit my parents for a week. I can’t believe it’s August already!!

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Family Camp 2014

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (3 Comments)

Camp 2014  

This past week Harvester’s Baptist Church hosted Family Camp and our family was able to go. Well, not DH because he was hard at work this week, but the rest of us were able to go. We’ve been going every year since 2007 when Chloe was 6 months old except last year.

Anyway, what fun we had! This year Chloe and John (7 and 5) were substantially more independent and spent most of their free time romping about with friends which left mama quite a bit of ‘free’ time to visit and get to know some other mamas. Would you believe that when I stop to count, it was seven other mama’s I’d never met before? How fun! One of the ladies I met this week blogs as well. We almost share a name (visit her at A Beautiful Calling) and seem to share many other interests as well. She lives on a farm!! {I think that would be amazing!}.  I exchanged addy’s with many of the mamas and I hope to get to know them a little more throughout the coming year.

Camp Horseback Riding

Some highlights?

John asked me to “please wake him up if the tent blew away.”

John spent the week finding and gathering treasures. He was over-the-moon excited when he found a robin’s egg intact. Alas, his mistake? Putting it in his pocket! Despite mama telling him it wouldn’t hatch, he felt the need to keep it warm. But with rocks, screws and other ‘treasures’ in his pockets, the egg didn’t stand a chance; John soon had a wet pocket.

Chloe loved the independence of sitting with her friends for lunch and also for church time. The young ladies at the camp did a phenomenal job with the Junior Church each evening and Chloe looked forward to it each night!

Chloe and John loved going to tuck shop each day. For those who don’t know what Tuck is, it’s a little camp store that sells treats, drinks and such. Anyway Isaac quickly learned what Tuck was as well and he looked forward to his Kit Kat each day; apparently he loves chocolate!

Isaac also loved the slip and slide. It was his first time going down it. He squealed and giggled all the way down, flapping his little arms in excitement. The camp uses a very long piece of plastic down the hill, combining water and soap for a super fun time!

 Camp Slip and Slide

The camp food was great and combined with the activities and the constant fresh air, my children ate like horses!! Especially little Isaac. He would eat his food and then he would reach around and try to take food off other people’s plates if I didn’t refill his plate fast enough.

I also really enjoyed the preaching and teaching throughout the week as well. One of my favorite messages was was about how Life is All About Relationships; it’s not about possessions, positions, housework…whatever. It’s about people. I’m praying that I will remember that as I go about my days. Perhaps it’s a reminder you need as you go through your days too?

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Our Summer Reading Project

Posted by Jennifer under Reviews/Giveaways (1 Comment)

Summer Reading

July 2nd is our local library’s official kickoff for their summer reading challenge. This year, our family is going to participate. In fact, the kids are so super excited that we’ve started already!

With my swim bag continually packed, our summer inevitably is filled with beach trips, splash pads, camping, picnics, watermelons, popsicles and of course, Kinder eggs. Much of that happens with out too much planning on my part. This summer, I want to be more intentional when it comes to reading in our family though, after all, reading isn’t just enjoyable and beneficial September to June. With the children still young, for this to happen, mama has to be intentional.

The children were super excited when I presented them with their binders – the fun kind with the clear front pocket – so they could decorate their cover page.

Summer Reading Project

Many of the books we will read are new, and we’re revisiting some old ones that we haven’t read in a while. Some I read, some Chloe reads along; picture books, board books, novels…

I’ve been thankful for things like the library,  internet, a computer, a printer…because it’s been fun making a simple project page for the children to remind us of each book we’ve read. I’ve also had a little help on the projects for some of the longer books, like Little House in the Big Woods. At the end of the summer it will be fun to look though our binders and see what exciting adventures we had in the pages of those books, to see what we learned, and what we imagined…

What we’ve read so far: The Giving Tree, A Grain of Rice, Where the Wild Things Are, and the first few chapters of Little House in the Big Woods.

My children love reading already but may I share just how motivating, rewarding and delicious a little Kinder Egg can be?

We plan to camp for a week in July and have a Disney World vacation coming up at the end of summer as well as I plan to squeeze in a visit (or two or three) up to my parents house as well. Road trips, books and Kinder go well together. I was going to say my favorite Kinder prizes are the ones you get to put together because it provides a little diversion at those moments when it’s really needed but I also like the little prizes that have play value as well. Remember the fuzzy animals? If each of your children in the back seat ends up with one, they can play together for a while before they start arguing again.

A reminder to myself for when we go to Florida, or for any of you who travel outside Canada – Kinder® Surprise® eggs are not allowed to cross the border so if you don’t want any hassle, you’d best leave the Kinder Egg goodness at home. {Though if the Kinder was not for the children but just for you, try their mini eggs if you can find them….they’re probably my #1 favorite Kinder chocolate!}

  • So if you have big plans for travel (not in the USA), take Kinder as a snack and a diversion.
  • If you’re looking for some ideas for summer fun around home, Kinder is great way to add in a little extra fun.
  • And if you have a stack of books you’re hoping to make it through with the children this summer? Read through a few and then have a little reward.
  • Kinder’s Facebook page is teeming with other mama’s such as yourself. Make sure to swing by for all sorts of tips, games and ideas to make your summer a splash!

No matter what your summer plans are, Kinder can add to the Egg-citement. {insert your own eye roll here if necessary, I won’t be offended.}

Happy Summer!

  • #KinderMom
  • “Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own”
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God Keep Our Land

Posted by Jennifer under Faith (No Comments)

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

My favorite line is the plea: God keep our land. Sadly, there are many Canadians who don’t share that heartfelt plea for our country. God help us! We must pray for them, ourselves and our country.

I didn’t realize our anthem was originally written in French, then translated into English and revised. Then direct translation is quite a bit different than the above song we sing so proudly. Check it out for yourself!

And just for fun: things you might not know where invented in Canada.

Happy Canada Day!

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Another Visit to Sioux Lookout

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (No Comments)

Sioux Lookout Trip

One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is the freedom to pack up and hit the beach, the park or go on a 22+ hour road trip with your parents!

We were chit-chatting one day about a visit to Sioux Lookout, the beautiful northern town where I grew up and where my aunt and uncle still live, and we decided to drive up for a visit. We were last up for a visit to Sioux Lookout in 2012 and I laughed that their one guest room feels like home since I’ve been up 4 times in the past 7 years.

We had lots of fun visiting with aunty and uncle, fishing, playing outside…I also had the opportunity to visit with some old friends. What a blessing!

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The First Beach Day of 2014

Posted by Jennifer under Just Life (No Comments)

Port Dover Beach Day

Daddy had to work late so after “noon nap” we packed up a few simple sandwiches and hit the road…you know for all of 12 minute…and piled out at the beach.

It was nice and warm, but overcast so the beach wasn’t too crowded. Chloe and John enjoyed playing with their water blasters (thanks Aunty and Uncle), went swimming, made mud creations…they found driftwood and tried to make an underwater lair however they were frustrated because the wood kept floating. Eventually they tried to make an above-water club house but when that kept toppling over, they gave up and just went for a swim. Good thing too since John had previously been enjoying a wet, squishy mud bath.

Isaac enjoyed playing in the sand, finding and throwing sticks and then even army-crawled down the shoreline after a taunting seagull. I also believe he ate a good amount of sand, both on it’s own and as part of his peanut butter sandwich.

I ended up with a good portion of the beach in my van, on my laundry room floor and in my beach bag but the extra clean up is definitely worth it.

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Review: A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman

Posted by Jennifer under Books, Homeschooling, Teaching Tots (No Comments)


We use Sonlight in our homeschool. Their educational approach to learning through books is a good fit for our family in this season. Something that I love about their books is that it’s not just the children who enjoy them, I do too!

I would definitely add A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman to the list of books I enjoyed. I’d never read it before nor even heard of it.

A humble farmer wants to marry the Emperor’s daughter . . . and succeeds because of his wisdom.

China comes to life in your Sonlight reading as you enjoy this tale with your children. This story also beautifully illustrates the mathematical concept of doubling and exponential growth in a way that even children can smile to hear. ~ Sonlight Core A

It’s a short book; we started it yesterday and finished it today. It was a simple tale, with a happy ending but what really got me excited was all of the easily captured ‘teachable moments’ .

“…that moment when a unique, high interest situation arises that lends itself to discussion of a particular topic.” ~ Fredric Lozo

I will readily admit to you that I am am sure I miss many teachable moments in the day. I do have friends, both online and in real life, who see teachable moments in almost everything and I am in awe of the way that they can impart wisdom, direction and an awe of God into everything. Don’t get me wrong, I try; but some people are just more gifted in that area I think.

Anyway, moving on…the hero in this book had so many wonderful character qualities and it was easy for the children to see goodness, humbleness, helpfulness, boldness, ambition, good work ethic, a happy heart…

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: ~ Proverbs 15:13

While the book isn’t a “Christian” book, it was very easy to talk (and see evidence!) of how Pong Lo’s outward actions and attitudes were a reflection of his heart’s attitude and how it affected others around him. From there is was a simple shift to talk about our hearts, actions, attitudes and letting other’s see Christ in us.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: ~ Proverbs 23:7

But my favorite part is how Pong Lo was a lowly farmer’s son who was given a lowly opportunity (scrubbing storehouse floors and shelves) and how he did his very best faithfully (and with a happy heart!) and was promoted little by little. It was the perfect time to talk about faithfulness and responsibly; both to the Lord but also in practical every day living. Like being faithful to go straight to the mailbox and straight back, when you are faithful in the little things, mommy can then give you more responsibility and freedom.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: ~ Luke 16:10

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men, ~ Colossians 3:23

So just a short little book, a simple yet engaging tale with no scriptural references and yet so much to offer. I just wanted to share this little treasure with you today! I definitely can see our family reading this book again.

PS. You can purchase A Grain of Rice here for $4.84 today with free shipping. Whenever you purchase through Beautiful Calling (through a post like this or through the ads on the side), you support this site; so thank you!

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DIY Magnetic Map of the World

Posted by Jennifer under Homeschooling, Keeper of Home, Teaching Tots (1 Comment)

World Map Magnet Board 

Last summer we bought a map for about $7 at Costco. It’s pretty big, it’s poster-like but lightly laminated if that makes sense. Wipeable, I guess you could say. I didn’t want to…well….tape it onto the wall like I did with posters when I was 13 so I toyed with finding a frame for it, but it’s so big. Make a frame, maybe? Cork board? Bulletin board? Then I had the genius idea to use some of that magnetic paint to paint the wall and use magnets to put it up, except that a friend of mine had used that paint and said it took a million coats and even then, the wall still wasn’t that magnetic a surface. Not what I wanted.

I don’t even know where the idea came from but a stroke of genius and I was on the hunt for a large piece of sheet metal. I found what I was looking for, thanks to my husband’s connection with an electrical company: a thin piece of metal approx 5’ long x 4’ high.

I brought it home and spray-painted it but since I’d done it outside, leaves and such kept sticking to it and the paint wasn’t super even. I ended up bringing it inside, screwing it to the studs in the wall, framing around it with painter’s tape and then using a roller to paint it brown.

We have these magnetic push pins to put up pictures, missionary prayer cards and such.

I love that we have a big visual on the wall, a reminder to pray for our missionaries, an easy place to reference for a general idea of where a story took place and an extra spot to put up artwork (this picture was taken in February when we put it up…it’s a little more full now).

I’m really happy with how this map space turned out and how this little learnning corner is taking shape. More about that in a coming post.

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DIY Felted Dryer Balls

Posted by Jennifer under Keeper of Home, Toolbox (1 Comment)

Felted Wool Dryer Balls DIY

I hang much of our clothing and dry others on our indoor drying rack. At our previous home we had built a clothes line but I haven’t done that here; we’ve talked about putting up a clothesline drying tree here but have yet to do it. Regardless of all that, I still love the dryer (gentle!) for many things.

A couple weeks ago I was visiting my aunt, a wool-loving knitter, and I mentioned that I would like to make dryer balls. I had tried the hard, plastic kind of dryer balls with teeth before but they were so hard on my fabric fibers that I was anxious to try wool balls. Etsy had so many pretty ones but some are quite pricey, especially when you add in Canadian shipping.. Immediately we went online and Google found us this DIY post and got busy.

It’s a very simple process to make, though we did discover that they do need to be wound tight , as if they are not tight enough, they will unravel. We had a few come loose during felting that we hand to wind back up and I’ve had one that unraveled after felting, while it was actually in use. Other than that, so far I’ve been pleased with how they look on top of the dryer (sooo pretty!) and we shall see how they work in terms of eliminating static and drying clothes faster.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

Have you ever heard of dryer balls?

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When They Don’t Like You

Posted by Jennifer under Parenting (No Comments)


My sweet girl. Like her mother, there are so many things she struggles with. One such morning, we’d had an issue, my sweet girl and I. As a result, she was missing a morning of fun and instead was attending a {boring} meeting with me. She sat at the back of the meeting room; I gave her some crayons, and a stack of paper to draw on along with some books to look at.

After the meeting, as I helped her gather up her items and collect her pictures, I found this photo. That scary blue thing with claws and teeth and weird eyes? Apparently that is me. I’m Mom V.  It wasn’t a mystery about how she was feeling that morning. She’s pretty good with her expressing her feelings verbally and she also loves drawing. I’m glad that she has found a new way to express herself. I managed to hide my smile and we talked about the issue, about the consequences, about respect, about the amazing and unconditional love of family and of the Lord.

One of the parenting tips I’d heard in the past was not to take things personally. I don’t do it perfectly but I sure do try to remember that most of the time, it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with her choices, attitudes and internal battles; that sin nature of hers, that like mine, that naturally struggles against right and authority. Oh don’t get me wrong, we still deal with the issues and there are consequences for disrespect and disobedience of authority but it really helps things not to get worse when I am able to keep my emotions out of it and remain neutral.

This parenting thing? It’s getting harder to figure out as they get older. The younger years are physically demanding but as the years go by, it’s much more mentally involving as I help them to understand morality, biblical virtues, right, truth, goodness. The issues aren’t quite so simple any more. Or maybe they are…after all, He never changes.

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