Archives for January 2014

10 Reasons Why Marriage is Better Than Chocolate

  1. 1. Chocolate doesn’t love me back. My husband knows all of my imperfections, quirks, and craziness and he still chooses to love me. Trust me, this is no small feat! For this I am truly thankful.
  2. 2. I always have a friend to share my thoughts with. I may be able to talk to chocolate, but it doesn’t respond.
  3. 3. Chocolate doesn’t appreciate any little things that I do to care for it. I have the privilege of serving my husband. This one may seem weird, but once I learned what a privilege this is, I began to enjoy (rather than resent) doing his laundry, cleaning up his shoes that he left out, cooking for him, and helping him out in many little ways throughout the day. This change meant that I had to become a little bit less selfish. Once I found joy in serving him, I found more joy in my day. And you know what? Our marriage got even better. It lead to even more of #4.
  4. 4. I have the honor of being served by my husband. Not only does he work really hard to pay the bills, but he also fixes the house (and everything in it when it breaks down), encourages me as we do life together, and rubs my back when it’s sore. While chocolate does serve to indulge my chocolate craving, that’s where it all ends.
  5. 5. In marriage, I am constantly challenged. Challenged to be more generous, more creative, and more Christ-like. The only way that chocolate challenges me is in the amount of willpower that I have to eat only a little at a time!
  6. 6. I have a strong man of God to parent my kids with. Some days when my man is away and I feel like pulling my hair out, I am so full of appreciation for the way that he helps to care for and pour truth and love into our daughters. While a little chocolate sometimes seems like a good idea when the kids are driving me crazy, the comfort it brings is momentary and fleeting.
  7. 7. In marriage I am continuing to learn how to speak in ways that build up instead of tear down. I think you would agree that when you are your most comfortable that the ugliest side of you comes out right? I believe that God gives us spouses to help us to train our thoughts and to be disciplined in building others up, especially our husbands. Chocolate’s got nothing on this one…
  8. 8. My husband is my protector; he defends me and watches out for me. Chocolate does give me some physical protection! The potential benefits of eating dark chocolate are said to include: lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems (1). Still, it won’t protect me in the unlikely event of a home invasion.
  9. 9. In marriage, I always have someone to go for a walk or bike ride with. I’ve got a squash partner, frisbee thrower, hike goer, tea drinker and book store browser. While I can go on a walk with chocolate, it just doesn’t compare to the great company of my husband!
  10. 10. The intimacy that God designed for marriage is incredible. This truly does bond us emotionally and keeps our marriage strong. Although chocolate is often identifies as an aphrodisiac, this is most often associated with the simple sensual pleasure of its consumption (2), and doesn’t last.

Be inspired,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

  • (1)http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270272.php
    (2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_chocolate

    A Hoot of a Project

    This week has been full. Full of busy days, and full of some fun as well. My girls have been asking for some new hats for a while, and I’ve wanted to make them some new hats for a while. The thing is, that when you often have jobs with deadlines and products that need to be completed for other people, there isn’t always time  to work on things that are for us when they don’t have a deadline. But sometimes you just have to be a little crazy! This week my craziness involved a couple of late nights, which equalled a fun crocheted owl hat and one very happy little girl.

    my happy girl

    This hat was a lot of fun to make. It was also great to let my little girl come to the local yarn shop to pick out her yarn and to tell me exactly how she wanted her owl hat to look. I love her spirit.

    handmade owl hat

    Now to finish two more hats!

    Be inspired,

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    Some Grain-Free Baking Going On!

    With my 30 day food challenge underway, my girls and I have been experimenting in the kitchen. We’ve had some very cold days here, and what better thing to do than heat up the kitchen with some baking right? I received the cookbook Against All Grain, by Danielle Walker for Christmas, and it has some delicious recipes in it. They are all grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free – but they are yummy! If you’re looking for a healthy baking alternative (and not just baking, great recipes all around!), check out Danielle’s blog to try some recipes for yourself. Pictured here are some of the cookies that we have made:

    grain free baking
    grain free nut butter cookies

    The 30 day food challenge is going really well. I feel as though my bad food habits are being broken, and that I am making mindful choices about the food that I am consuming. Instead of putting junk into my body when I feel hungry for a snack, I am choosing fruits, veggies, plain yogurt, a piece of cheese, or some nuts. These snacks are much more satisfying, and don’t cause me to crave more that what I need. I have not felt hungry or unsatisfied since starting this challenge, and have eaten very well. My energy level has been high, and I have felt very clear headed. As an unanticipated bonus, my pants which became slightly snug over Christmas, have gone back to fitting perfectly!

    This area of discipline has spilled over into greater spiritual discipline and spending more time with the Lord. Praise God! He continues to work in my life and to refine me, as He desires to do with you as well. If you are reading this and want to know more about how the Lord Jesus has changed my life, please ask me! I would love to share my story with you.

    For those of you who sent me a message and are doing this challenge with me, keep up the good work one healthy choice at a time!

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

     

    Back to the Basics with School Lunches!

    Packing a healthy school lunch for your child can be tricky. It gets even trickier when food allergies or intolerances are involved! I still remember the thought and worry that went into packing the first school lunch for my eldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten. I panicked that I didn’t have enough the evening before the first day of school, and drove out to a local vegetable stand to buy just one more thing that I could add to complete that lunch! We’re in a great routine with school lunches now – we know how many snacks our girls will eat in a day, and we know what their individual preferences are.

    Some Guidelines:

    1. Keep it simple. Apples and bananas are great snacks! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that snacks have to be fancy looking.
    2. Avoid any prepackaged or processed snacks. Not only are they often full of sugar, preservatives, and artificial colours, but they are also very expensive, and create more garbage waste.
    3. Include a rainbow of colours. This will ensure that they are getting a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins from their food.
    4. Introduce one new snack at a time. A complete overhaul all at once would be a shock to anyone’s system. Take it slow.
    5. If including a juice box, ensure that it is labelled 100% juice. Most juice boxes are laden with sugar, added flavour, and food colouring.
    6. Educate your kids about how healthy their lunch is, and why this is important for their growing bodies and learning minds. They do understand!

    School Lunch Inspiration – what to include:

    1 main item such as:

    • Hummus with corn chips or whole grain crackers to dip (they also love to dip their veggies in hummus).
    • Guacamole with corn chips or whole grain crackers to dip.
    • Leftovers kept warm in a thermos such as: stew, soup, pasta, casserole
    • A sandwich – egg salad, tuna salad, sunflower seed butter & jam etc.

    As well as 3 snacks which can include:

    • 1 piece of fruit such as: An apple (sliced with an apple slicer, held together with a rubber band and put into a reusable plastic bag), a banana, a clementine orange (or slices of a navel orange), grapes, melons, or berries.
    • 1 veggie such as: Cucumber slices, carrot sticks or baby carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper slices, or celery sticks.
    • 1 “fun” snack such as: Homemade granola bars (nut , dairy and gluten free), homemade muffins (sweetened with honey), trail mix (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, gluten free cereal, raisins), or homemade cookies (sweetened with honey). With the exception of the trail mix, I make these snacks ahead in large batches and freeze them so that when we’re packing lunches in the morning we just pull them out and they are ready to go!

    school lunch

    I hope these ideas inspire you as you strive to provide your kids with nutritious, simple lunches that they will enjoy! (Don’t forget to click on the links in the text above for the yummy recipes that I’ve shared in earlier posts.)

    What are some healthy school lunch ideas that your kids love? Please share with us!

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

     

    Good Fun in the Snow!

    In our house, WE LOVE SNOW!!! This winter has been a good one so far, and lots of the fun white stuff is falling as we speak. Over here it has been all about snow forts, snowmen, and tobogganing off of the “hill” my husband made from the steps off the back deck. It’s amazing how four steps can become hours of fun when snow is piled up on top and smoothed out just right. Here are a couple of images from our fun in the snow this winter so far:

    snowman

    snow fort

    After hours of fun in the snow, the kids always like to warm up with a mug of hot cocoa, and I enjoy making it very simply with only 3 ingredients over the stove. I use unsweetened original almond milk, and I whisk in equal parts cocoa and honey. You can make it as strong and as sweet as you like it, as a guideline I use about 1 teaspoon of each per 1 1/2 cups of milk. You get a yummy mug of hot cocoa without all of the additives and refined sugar found in an instant hot chocolate mix.

    hot cocoa

    Put on your snowsuits, get out there and have some good fun in the snow!

    Karen

    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    Daring to be Disciplined

    I have decided to start the new year off with a 30 day commitment to be disciplined in the area of food. If you know me, you may be wondering why I, a self professed health conscious person, would need to do such a thing? Food is an area where I need to grow. I get the munchies, and I over eat. I feel emotional, and I turn to food. What type of food? Comfort food of course! The saltier and sweeter the better. So while we eat a strictly gluten free diet, and our meals are very healthy, my snacking habits throughout the day are not too hot. In order to break these bad snacking habits, I have decided to make a 30 day commitment to only eat real food for this period of time. No processed food, no grains, no sugar, nothing with “natural flavour” added to the ingredient list. This will be a pretty big challenge for me, but I am excited to see how I feel at the end of the month after only putting real foods into my body. The biggest comfort foods that I will miss: potato chips, and chocolate.

    Why do I feel like I want to do this challenge? Spiritual and physical health are both important to me, and to God. When I turn to food instead of to our Lord in challenging times, this is a problem. When I’m mindlessly snacking with no purpose and no appetite, I realize that it’s a problem when it’s a trend and not an exception. I want to take this area of my life and make it healthy. I want to feel good about my food choices throughout the entire day, and I want to eat with the purpose of nourishing my body, not comforting myself.

    In Romans chapter 12, Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. When I turn to food instead of Christ throughout the day, I recognize that I am not taking care of my body as we are called to, and also that I am missing out on intimacy with Christ that I would have if I spent time in prayer instead of in the pantry. It is because of this that I am sharing this weakness that I have. We all have areas where we need to grow in obedience, and food is one of mine. I am surrendering this area up to God, I’m confessing this area of struggle, and I know that with the power of the Holy Spirit within me that I will overcome this area of weakness in my life.

    Today was day one of the challenge, and it was a great day! I ate well, made great choices, and felt satisfied and energetic throughout the entire day (well, except when I was snuggled up on the couch reading with my girls after supper and I was nodding off…I credit that to all of the great winter fun we had outside today).

    Does anyone else struggle in this area? I would love to have some company on this challenge! Reply to this post, or send me an e-mail if you want to join in on this 30 day commitment to make healthier steps in the area of food. Let’s dare to be disciplined in all areas of life.

    Thanks for reading,

    Karen

    “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5