Monday, June 23, 2014

Journal: Life Keeps You Busy

It's been a while since my last entry.  The title for this one explains it all.  So much has happened and completely consumed my time...and rightfully so.  A quick update.

My three year old had a horrible accident.  She fell off a stool at a terrible angle and broke her arm. There has been hospital stays, X-rays, morphine, multiple casts and sleepless nights.


My other two girls wrapped up their dance year with multiple competitions and a year end recital.  There has been road trips, practices, an audition and tons of growth within the last few months.


My husband's gospel singing group FOR THE MASTER had a live DVD recording and it was AMAZING.  So very proud of him for letting it all go and doing things that he would not have done otherwise.


We celebrated Father's Day by honouring my husband as the king of our castle.  We relaxed, made him a special Trini dinner and spent quality time as a family.


Hoping life will slow down over the next few weeks so we can breathe.  If not, I guess we'll just keep moving.

Friday, May 23, 2014

DIY Painting Challenge

It's been a while since I've posted canvas paintings!  Here is my latest attempt at a more challenging piece.  Took a lot longer than the others but it was enjoyable none the less.  At the very bottom is the original painting I worked from by QiQi Gallery.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Journal: Approaching 40!!!

As I inch closer to 40 I find myself going through a range of emotions.  Everyone's journey is different.  Everyone's story is different.  Your story and your journey affects your perspective on things.  I went from being petrified of turning 40 to feeling exhilarated about it.  Let me explain...

Initially I was petrified because it seemed like it was happening too fast.  Time seemed like it was going faster than I could accomplish my goals.  Was I getting old?  Well that's one way to look at it...a negative perspective.  I grew tired of that spot!  Why sit there and just waste even more time?

Then I grew to accept that 40 was coming whether I was ready or not.  With accepting came making the decision to not focus on what I hadn't yet done, but to find the drive and enthusiasm to tackle all my outstanding action items from a place of thankfulness.  I'm thankful that I'm still here.  I'm thanking that I find strength and direction from the God I love and serve.  I'm thankful for what I've already done that I thought I couldn't.  I'm thankful that I still have today.

Now I'm just excited.  I'm excited that I finally, after a long journey...I finally love me!!  This is the most confident I've ever been!  With all my imperfections, with all my shortcomings, with all my curves, with all the growing I still have to do, I Love Me!!  I will strive to be better, do better, learn, grow and GIVE!!  When I look back on life I want to see how I made this world better and how I enriched those around me.  Those are the things that I will find value in and pass on to my children.

So 40...let's go!!  I'll love, give and strive before you get here...and long after I pass you!

Image by http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Journal: Note To My Younger Self

I came across a great post on Instagram the other day...


It really made me think...what would I tell my younger self?!?!  Here is what I came up with...in more than two words!  Lol.


Nat,

Take it easy!  Take the time to enjoy every moment as time goes by very quickly.  

Enjoy being a young wife and mom.  As crazy as things may get you'll have the best memories.  Finding balance is always a work in progress.  You can never have it all together...you have more kids coming lol!  

Embrace change and focus on what and whose company works for you.  

Don't second guess yourself.  As crazy as your random thoughts can be sometimes...you're spot on!

You're such a perfectionist at work.  Take it easy.  Don't overdo it, you'll make yourself sick...literally.

Lastly, you are enough!  Don't spend so much time comparing how you measure up to others.  They haven't walked in your shoes!  You have what it takes!  What you dream about is an indication of what God wants for you!


This was a great exercise!  I wouldn't take away my experiences because they made me who I am today, but I would change my perspective on how I viewed those experiences! 



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oldie but Goodie Review: Gifted Hands - The Ben Carson Story (2009 Film)


I don't know where to begin with this film.  Let's just say it's a must see.  I watched it with my family and it brought about much discussion throughout.  It just lit a fire under my butt as a mother!

The movie is based on the life of a renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson who beat the odds and became a solution.  According to the description of the film, his mother gave him courage, his faith helped him believe and his brilliance gave him power to change lives!

I was inspired by Ben Carson's mother in this film.  I won't give away too much but I will say this....a lot of times as parents we may feel like we don't have enough or know enough to equip our children for the future.  This story proves once again that it's not about what you don't have to give but what you do with what you DO have!  YOU CAN RAISE A WORLD CHANGER IF YOU CHANGE YOUR THINKING!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Journal: Keep Them Busy

I've always grown up hearing adults say "I keep my kids busy!"  I never paid much attention to it but since becoming a parent...I totally get it!  Keeping them busy means less time to get into possible trouble.  With that in mind, you will do as many drop-offs and pick-ups you need to, especially when you see them enjoy and treasure whatever they're involved in.  What better way than to nurture what your child loves as best you can.  Whether it be clubs, leagues, competitive or recreational classes or DIY projects...get them active!

For our household it's dance and numerous DIY (Do-It-Yourself) activities.  Our girls have ALWAYS had a love for music and dance so we have put as much as we can into cultivating that interest.

This week their dance company A New Daei was invited to perform as the halftime show for a Caribbean themed playoff game for Black History Month.  It was a lot of fun and also the girls' first basketball game.  The excitement was in the air for both the parents and the dancers.  What a joy it was to watch them thrive and perform after numerous hours of practice.  To see the dancers come together, look out for each other and truly work as a family was amazing!  They are learning things that we could never teach them.  Thrilling indeed!  Here are a couple photos from that night.




Monday, February 3, 2014

HEALTHier Eating - Daily Infusion Of Greens

In an earlier post (To Kale Or Not To Kale) I mentioned that we were trying to incorporate more greens into our diet.  It's a slow start but a start none the less.  Since then we've made some progress.  We've come up with a way to incorporate greens into almost everything we eat.

Firstly we blended a huge batch of kale and spinach. We added water as required by the blender to keep things moving.  We then used ice trays to freeze our blend.  This way we can add our preferred amount of cubes when cooking our meals and no one will know the difference.  Tried it and couldn't taste a thing.



Secondly, we juiced our remaining batch of kale and spinach.  We also juiced broccoli, cucumber and celery.  We strained our juice to get it nice and smooth then used our ice trays to freeze it.  Such an easy way to add as many cubes as we like to our juices and fruit smoothies.  The kids love it.  Hubby loves it.  I love it and we've gone from very little greens to incorporating potent amounts into our daily diet. 


If you're not big on greens or vegetables, this is an amazing way to get it in daily.  You can infuse your choice of cubes (blended or juiced) into soups, juices, sauces, stews, etc.  I'm assuming you can do this with all veggies and fruit especially if you have picky eaters at home.  This option also allows us to pick up more fruits and vegetables when they are on sale without it going bad in the fridge within a short period of time.  Brilliant!!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY Paintings For Kids

I did some paintings for my girls for their rooms.  I was inspired by canvases on my Pinterest board.  It was hard to keep it under wraps but I pulled it off.  It was so much fun and they truly loved it.  Here they are...






Friday, January 24, 2014

Journal: Hobby With A Bestie

Had a super, fun-filled, inspiring and mind blowing day today with my bestie!  She is a professional decorator and amazing at what she does.  She taught me a lot over the years and we've been best friends for about 17 years.  She had a job today and guess who she took along!  Lol!  I was excited because it was another opportunity to see her in action and learn more.

We were decorating a reception hall for a birthday party.  We had 150 chair covers to tie and centre pieces to mount.  I just love this stuff.  We had so much fun that the time went by and it didn't feel like work.  We spent the time catching up and doing what we usually do...bouncing ideas off each other, getting excited about our futures and making plans.  Well one thing led to another and we birthed a business together!  Yup!  Just like that!  We're pumped and ready to go!  Can't tell details just yet but there will definitely be a post on it!  Here is a sneak peek of what we did...

'Tiffany Gift Box Cake' on the Cake Table


Lighted Centre Pieces


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Banana Bread Recipe

Since finding this Banana Bread Recipe (Simply Recipes), it has been a favourite in my home!  My recipe has been tweaked a little after making it quite a few times and trying different things.  I've made it for a few gatherings and it is always considered simple and moist. It is so easy to make and a good way to put those spotted bananas that get treated like the plague, to good use.  No electronic mixers needed!


Banana Bread
3 or 4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Wooden spoon for mixing


1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees (F)
2. Mash bananas in large bowl.
3. Add butter and mix.
4. Add sugar, egg and vanilla.
5. Sprinkle baking soda over mixture and mix well.
6. Add flour and mix.  If using chocolate chips, mix it in after the flour is mixed in well.
7. Pour mixture into buttered 4"x8" loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
8. Cool before slicing and serving.



This recipe makes one loaf and makes any house smell heavenly.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

PreTeen Challenge

Being a homeschooler I am forever seizing every opportunity to teach something. I just can't help it.  It brings fun and variation to teaching.  Today I had a fantabulous idea!

We are due to renew a few passports at my house so I picked up the forms and decided to grab an extra one so my daughter Tri (10 years old) can attempt to fill it out.  Both she and I were super pumped.  Yes!!  Life skill lesson 299 lol.  You wouldn't believe how many discussions, explanations and aha moments we had!  She had to lookup info as well and copy registration numbers and the like.  It was great.  Sometimes it's the simple things that teach the most.  

I challenge you to give your preteen a form to fill out next time you have one.  Have them use pencil or just get an extra one.  Great learning experience and another way to spend constructive quality time.

Image from learnhebrewpod .com



Monday, January 20, 2014

HEALTHier Eating - To Kale Or Not To Kale

I've heard a lot lately about the benefits of Kale.  Besides the assumption of it being healthy because it fits into the 'leafy greens' category, it is known to lower cholesterol, fight cancer and support a healthy immune system and digestion among other things (see image below).  For the last three years we have taken a gradual turn to be HEALTHier and loving the results.  Kale was the next challenge.



First we tried to make Kale chips!!  I'm not sure if we didn't use the correct type of Kale (there is a variety out there) or it just wasn't our day, but it was terrible. Hated it.  Lol.  It actually turned us off a little.  More recently I bought a new blender (exciting indeed...lol) so we thought we'd try blending the Kale into our smoothies.  By the way, we've been making smoothies daily and it's a huge hit for both the young and the more mature in my household. Lol.

We blended the Kale first until completely smooth then added our regular fruit, etc. and it was actually good.  We were all in shock! Not sure what we were expecting....actually who am I kidding, we were expecting to hate it.  Lol.  For now, this is our only method of Kale intake.  We will certainly keep trying.  


UPDATE:  We have progressed in our quest to get more greens.  Check new post HEALTHier Eating - Daily Infusion of Greens

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Journal: A Little About Me

It's time to open up and give my fellow readers a little insight into who I am, so here goes :-)

I was born and raised in Trinidad and migrated to Canada with my mother at the tender age of 13.  I love where I'm from and regret not being able to go back often.  Trinidad is a wonderful place and I have tons of family left there.  It was a very difficult transition in regards to culture and school but I got through it thank God (maybe I'll blog about that lol).

I transitioned well into high school and eventually met my love (Junior) who I've been married to for 13 years.  We've been together a total of 18 years and our amazing friendship is what keeps me sane lol.  He will soon be a guest blogger as well, he just doesn't know yet lol.  You'll love him :-)

Junior (Hubby) & I

We have 3 extremely energetic, talented and witty girls ages 10 years (Tri), 6 years (Nai) and 2 years (Mali).  They are a great balance between being girly and cute, as well as tough and competitive all at the same time.  They teach me so much so there will always be a blog post about them lol.  My plan is also for Tri to be a guest blogger for kids (or from a kid's point of view) as well.  She has a lot to say lol.

Mali & I
Tri & Nai
There's a lot I enjoy doing but to be honest, I'm on my way to finding my groove again.  I got caught up in mommy-ing for the past decade so I'm enjoying reinventing myself as I approach 40!  Perfect timing lol (blog post).  I am finally comfortable in my own skin without apologies...expect blogs on that too lol.

Me :-)

My goal is to share my life experiences, mistakes, triumphs and my faith on a practical level.  I've always loved to write so the merging of all of this creates the perfect forum for this stay-at-home mom and homeschooler (yep blogs on that too lol).  I'm not here to chase for followers or act like I've got everything down. I'm just here to be real, honest and to have an outlet to share, learn and grow.  This blog was a step out to challenge myself and get out there for ME.  ALL THINGS GIRLY ME!!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll come again :-)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Are The Kids Out To Get Me?!?!?

Have you ever had one of those days where you literally thought your kids were out to get you?  Lol.   Seriously!  I have those days occasionally.  I am convinced they wake up and plan one thing after the next non-stop.  Someone is fighting, someone gets hurt, someone throws a tantrum, someone ate something they shouldn't, someone decides to be an artist in the hallway or on the carpet, someone is hungry five minutes after they ate...I mean the list goes on.  Sounds hilarious now but when it's happening, not so much.  My husband then gets one of these texts at work, "Come get your kids!!"  Lol.  This is not everyday but it happens.
Zazzle.ca

Thank God he is one of those men that just makes everything better by the calmness in his voice. Of course that support brings the waterworks and I just feel silly for having a horrible day. Lol. He always reassures me that I'm doing the best I can and it is appreciated. Sometimes as moms we want to do it and be it all. He tells me all the time, my expectations are so high of myself that I tend to make it unreachable for my own self. It's so true. Then I think the kids are out to get me. Makes me chuckle when I think about it. It's actually a running joke between hubby and I. If you are a single mom or you don't have a spouse that can bring reassurance, find that go-to person you can trust who can be there for you. It makes a world of difference.

During those days when I've felt like I've reached my breaking point. We go down this checklist...

Am I taking my iron?
Believe it or not, if your iron is low it has a serious affect on your mood and tolerance level.  For the longest time I struggled with keeping up at home.  Went to the doctor for a regular checkup and found out my iron was dangerously low, making me feel extremely tired, irritable and affecting my entire daily function.  I was prescribed iron pills and within a few days of taking them I felt a significant change in my mind and body.

Am I getting enough sleep?
Sometimes I don't even realize how little sleep I get especially if the kids get sick one after the other.  Other times I just like to stay up late because with everyone in bed, I can quietly watch a movie, read a book or catch up with social media.  

Am I making time for myself?
Sometimes a little TLC to just breathe is what I need to regroup and face the little people that are 'not out to get me' lol.  Grab a girlfriend for coffee, run to the store and just browse, go for a drive, browse Pinterest or whatever you prefer.

Is there too much happening?
We've got practices, homeschool, play groups, appointments, basically everything that needs to get done.  When I just STOP and play with the kids for a while, take time to look into their tiny faces, laugh with them, answer their well thought out questions about random life issues like cheese and fishes lol....well, I just gain perspective and realize they are more important than all of it.  They are who we're doing all of this for.  Just enjoy them before they grow up and I wish for the time back that I have with them now.

sandyhaight.com/portfolios/line-art

From here I pray and ask God for strength and wisdom to be what they need and to help me find balance so I can enjoy it ALL.  Once strengthened I keep it moving until the next bad day, then we start again lol.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

DIY Canvas Paintings

Since the holidays I have adopted a new hobby in Painting!  Read how I got started here.  Since then I have been trying new canvases, mirroring as best I can.  Here are my results so far.  On the left are the original images.  On the right is my depiction.  I'll continue to post as I continue to experiment.





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MONEY$AVER DIY Gifts Part 2

Before the Christmas holidays I wrote a blog about the decision to give DIY gifts this year.  You can go back and read it here.  I promised to come back after the DIY canvases were given, to show you our paintings so here they are!!  


SUNFLOWER PATCH
UNDER THE SEA
MOUNTAIN VIEW
ART PIECE 1
ART PIECE 2
FIREWORKS
CITY VIEW
We were all very surprised and pleased with how they turned out.  They were a huge hit and we all found a new hobby in the process. The kids had a blast and are so very proud of their paintings!!  Remember we are not artists...no where near experienced.  We had fun learning and will continue to come up with new ideas to create especially during holiday seasons.