Married Life..& Stress

This October will mark our 5 year wedding anniversary.  I cannot believe how the time has flown by!  That got me thinking.. how do we celebrate this great achievement!?

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Why is marriage such an achievement?  If you love someone, shouldn’t it be easy?  I will tell you first hand, married life is not easy.  There are so many factors that can impact a marriage, so to say we are surviving is not a reach.

Anyway, here we are, 5 years married.  We are happy, thankful, and enjoy each other’s company (ask us again in another 20 years… lol) but those giant mountains we sometimes climb can take a toll.  We have been through health struggles, family dramas, job changes, a very sick parent, and now we are learning the parenting role to our toddler, Norah (not always a stress-free task..).

I learnt in counselling many years back about this list of 43 Major Life Stressors.   It is a list of life changing events that you evaluate over the course of one year and your score defines how serious of a threat your stress levels are for your health.  After observing my increase in anxiety and Josh’s blood sugar fluctuations (he is a juvenile Type 1 diabetic), I was curious of what our score was for this past year.   I scored a 393 and Josh is almost the same, if not more due to some personal life events.  Meaning-high risk of illness due to stress.  

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Ok- so it has been a rough year.  For two people to be enduring the same amount of stress, for the same and individual life events in the same time period, we definitely are in survival mode.

The sad fact is, out of all of these stressors, the one that is causing a ripple effect on how we handle all of the others is our financial stress.   That kind of stress can really test a marriage, because unlike any other factor- we can’t just get away for a week (or one night) to revive ourselves- to renew our bond and continue to take on the world together.



But- we WILL survive!  We have in the past, and we will again now!  We have Faith- and that is what has helped us time and time again.  We have to remind ourselves that if we put our worries in God’s hands, and have a little faith, love will prevail.

Sidenote: right before we got married, I went out and got a tattoo- “Faith” across my ribs.  It is there to remind me that God is what will get me/us through any situation. 

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And all major stresses aside, the reality is we are putting in our time right now as a newly married couple.  My parents have been married 48 years and Josh’s parents 34 years!  We still have so much to go through in life and many things to learn.  5 years seems trivial compared to the many miles our parents have on us.

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How will we celebrate these past 5 years?   I will update when the time comes.. Maybe split a bottle of wine and a steak at home, and plan a realistic vacation for our 10 year anniversary… hopefully by then, we can afford a vacation worthy of all the hard times!

Until next time..T. xx 


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Reflection: Be Still & Know

One bible verse that has always helped me through my anxiety is Psalms 46:10-

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For me, it is hard to be still.  To stop my every day motions and whirlwind thoughts, and to simply reflect and have faith that God has got this.  He has our backs.  We may not see why things happen or what the course of His actions are, but there are reasons and we just have to have faith.

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Rather than reflect on the ups and downs of this past week, I want to reflect on how this past Sunday, my family and I went to church and took one hour to be still (even Norah tried as much as she could for a toddler…. lol).  My mother in law, battling a grueling cancer right now, and suffering horribly painful side effects from her treatments, gathered strength to go be with God for that one hour the night before we went. When I had heard she had gone to church, I knew I had no excuse.

That one hour of reflection helped me refocus- to put everything in God’s hands, and I felt rejuvenated.  God’s got this!

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After church that Sunday morning, my family and I decided to enjoy this wonderful weekend- we spent time with my husband’s parents, aunts, and his dear grandmother, who enjoyed the surprise of us at her doorstep that sunny Sunday afternoon.  On Monday, we went for a walk with our dogs, and soaked up the spring-like weather that God blessed us with this weekend. (we have been getting so much snow, it was pretty exciting to see dry pavement!)

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I know that in time I will build myself up with doubts and worries all over again…but for now, I am going to Be Still and Know.

until next time…T. xx

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Portebello Mushrooms-Omelette style

There are so many recipes out there with portebello mushrooms!  As breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, I browsed some ideas and came up with the Omelette-stuffed Portebello Mushroom.

Ingredients:

-4 portebello mushrooms

-3 eggs

-dill, rosemary, basil, salt and pepper spices

-grape tomatoes

-cheese

-olive oil


Directions:

preheat oven to 300 degrees

1. scoop out gills (and stems- I kept mine in because the mushrooms were a little flimsy already)

2.put mushrooms on greased pan

3. drizzle insides with olive oil

4. sprinkle spices inside

5. scramble the eggs and pour in evenly

6. i added quartered grape tomatoes (and I would have added spinach, but I am all out)

7. grate a little cheese on top!

8. bake for 15 minutes, then broil on high for 5 minutes

YUM! until next time… T. xx


Meal Planning/Budget tips

As we are a family on a very tight budget, I have picked up a few great tips to stretch our money out and now have some routines revolving around groceries and meal planning.

Between 2 adults and 1 child, we spend about $700/month on groceries (this includes diapers right now, and the odd bottle of wine..).  Not bad I think! (this does not include dining out, which we do once a month if that)

In order to stay within that budget, and to cook up quick meals within the half hour time frame I have when I get home from work, I had to figure out some little tricks/tips to meet my goals. 

Here is what I have learnt:

  1.  Meal Planning.  I never believed that this worked, but it is actually SO important!!  You do not have to stick 100% to it (some people are very diligent and get a meal planning calendar), but I usually have at least 7-10 meals planned within a 2 week span.  note: try and plan your meals around leftovers for lunches as well, this has really helped us save!  
  2. Stock the Freezer.  Every other weekend I will make a couple of freezer dishes- giant batches of chili, spaghetti sauces, soups, shepard’s pies, etc.  I buy in bulk and cook in bulk so there are leftovers for lunches and for the freezer-this saves time and money!
  3. Waste not.   When I cook a meat (ie a ham, chicken, roast), I try and make at least 2 meals out of it (and lunches if I can).  Meat is so expensive these days, and by splitting it into 2-3 meals (ie-for a whole Chicken–1)chicken with rice 2)chicken nachos  3)stuffed peppers), you really save money!   note: you can always freeze the left over meat by wrapping in siran wrap and into a baggy for another week, incorporate it into your meal plan for a stir fry backup!
  4. Couponing/Grocery Apps.  Living in the modern world, there aren’t as many paper coupons out there (I still find the odd one that pertains to my grocery list!), but there are so many apps out there that help you save on your grocery bill!   Here are the 3 main apps I use:

Flipp-This app contains all the flyers in your area.  You can clip deals and compare grocery store prices, and it also provides coupons that you can print!  This app is great for meal planning as you can compare this week’s flyer and upcoming flyers to determine the best pricing for certain items.

Checkout 51– This is an app where you actually get money back!   Each week there is a list of items (food, toiletries, diapers) offering money back after purchase.  Scan your grocery receipt with the items on it, and you will receive money in your account almost immediately.   I started this account half a year ago and I have earned $34.50 (any cent counts)!

PC Plus– The main grocery stores in our area offer the PC Plus points system, so I use this app a lot.   There are instore points and online points, so if you follow this app well, you will save more!  When my usual food staples are being offered, I stock up.   I have received over $500 in savings with this app in the past couple of years!

5.Recipes Organization.  I am a big pinterest fan for gathering recipe ideas and then making them my own.  When I use the recipe a few times, I put them in a ‘favourite recipes’ category.

There are many ways to store recipes- recipe box, recipe apps, and recipe books.

I am a huge fan of the recipe book. I had too many recipes in multiple books, so I finally bought this amazing recipe book to put my favourite go-to recipes in!


I’ll play around with this one, but I also have my eye on a recipe box as well.. (nice and easy to organize in categories)

Happy planning!! until next time..T. xx 

Reflection: Toddlerhood

As I compared pictures of Norah from last year to this year, I realized something- my little baby girl is not a little baby anymore!  Where did that time go?  It feels like yesterday I was carrying her everywhere with me, propping her up with pillows so she could practice sitting, spoon feeding her pureed foods, and (I miss this the most) swaddling her and rocking her to sleep.

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Honestly- where did that time go?

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In what seems like a blur of time, Norah now insists on doing everything on her own.  Her independence in one year astonishes me!!  Bedtime now consists of HER reading to US at least 3 stories (or the same story 3 times..). She only wants to use a fork at dinner (a spoon is so last year), even if it takes an hour to eat 15 peas.  She has to put her boots on with no help, brush her hair with no help (and all of ours-including the dogs),  and go up and down the stairs with no help!

Um hello…am I not needed anymore?  

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The good news is- she has replaced all of the joys that she brought to us as a baby with new, different joys!   She talks a mile a minute- and her little voice is so adorable!  She has gone from unpronounceable words to full sentences in the blink of an eye!   Always asking us questions and imitating our phrases.

She also is mimicking our parenting actions.   I saw her scold Josh with her little pointy finger one day (it is hard not to laugh at those moments) and she now does her complete bedtime routine for her little dolly each night (changing diaper, doing her hair, reading stories, putting on bedtime music)- so cute!

As she continues to change, so do Josh and I as parents.  Trying to evolve as she does.  We are definitely in uncharted territory right now.  Just as we became “baby experts”, Norah transitioned into an entire different realm:  Toddlerhood.

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This is an entire new world to us. For example, we now have to watch what we say at all times (you never realize how much you swear until a child repeats your every word)!  We also have started to hide eating certain snacks (ie chocolate, popcorn) because let’s face it- kids always want to eat what we are eating! (admit it parents- we aren’t the only ones hiding the junkfood!) 

and can we talk about temper tantrums for a moment?  WOW.   I love my daughter with all my heart, even when her little face turns red and her tiny lungs are screeching at me.  Most of these outbursts are due to the difficulty in communicating at that age.  She was an early talker so thankfully those tantrums will be short-lived.

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But then there is the power struggle tantrum.  Battle of the family- Parents vs kid.  Who will give in first!  These are the tough tantrums.  The ones where Josh and I have to help each other to not throw in the towel!  Survival of the fittest.   (I fear these will last a lifetime…..)

There are so many other elements of toddlerhood to expand on, but I think the most important highlight of this stage is the bond we have with Norah and how our love grows each day.

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Next up- potty training….  until next time, T. xx

 

 

Valentine’s Day; at Home Date Nights

Valentine’s Day: the day dedicated to love.

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Unfortunately, for so many, this is a hard reminder of a broken heart, financial struggles (not being able to live up to the extravagant commercialization), and feelings of loneliness.   For these reasons, I am not a fan of this day. anti-valentines-day

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day.  We always skip the large bragging gifts, the romantic getaways, the flowers, everything.  I find the pressures of this day really trump the true meaning of love.

This does not mean I am a scrooge about this day! We have a daughter now, and this day is a little exciting for a child, so we make it special for her (she now is a proud owner of a brand new pink dollar store bucket for her pom poms, which she has been decorated with Dora stickers)– the littlest gift, but it has made her so happy!tenor.gif

For Josh and I, we like to have random date nights- those are so special to me.  However, times have changed and now we very rarely make it out just the two of us. (Come to think of it, I don’t think we have gone overnight somewhere alone since our honeymoon 5 years ago!)  With us both working full time jobs (plus planning around a toddler which can be tricky), we now wait until we both are feeling only semi-exhausted, and enjoy a night in together; an at-home date night!

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Last weekend, Josh was off work before Norah and I were home, so he picked up a pizza and a bottle of wine, and turned our Friday night into a mini date night!  Norah went to bed after eating pizza with us, and Josh and I continued the night with movies (ok, it was one movie-it would not be realistic to try and stay awake for two..) and some snacks/wine!  That night was so simple, relaxing, and fun.

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We have become hooked on at home date nights.  For our anniversary last year, we stayed home, cooked appetizers and baked peaches for dessert, and played scrabble.  We talked and laughed- it was a great evening, and still kid free!

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So, for those that do celebrate this day today, but either can’t afford an elaborate celebration or are too tired to go out tonight, here is a list of some fun at home date ideas (Im going to keep these in mind for our random date nights):

-movie night

-indoor picnic

-paint a picture together

-cook a meal together-sushi, pizza.. something hands on

-have a beer or wine tasting

-bundle with some blankets and have a bonfire

-fondue or raclette

-watch a sports game together- get some vendor snacks and beer and cheer your favourite team on!

-video game night

The list can go on!  Be creative & have fun!!  (and happy love day!)

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Until next time…T. xx

Yoga and Aging- excerpt from Goop

Below is an excerpt from the Goop site about Yoga and Aging.  A very interesting read that I just had to share- I suggest everyone check this out!  -T.  xx

 

Photo by Brigitte Sire Can Yoga Affect the Way We Age?: 7 Days of GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY goop, $30 Our new book, GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY, is all about beauty from the inside out, from clean eating, beauty sleep, detoxifying sweat sessions, regimens to keep your adrenals and hormones in balance, and nighttime…

via Can Yoga Affect the Way We Age?: 7 Days of GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY — Goop

DIY: Pom Pom Game (for Toddlers)

I have discovered Norah’s new found current passion:  POM POMS.  I think it is safe to say that everyone remembers these when we were kids.  There was always a craft that involved those small puff balls- using a popsicle stick to spread the glue, and pasting them onto a piece of paper- now that was art!

Well, Norah and I had gone to the dollar store before her doctor appointment one day to buy some stickers, (another little obsession of hers) and the moment she spotted those pom poms, she would not let them go.   This is where the love story begins.

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She carries her little pom poms everywhere she goes.  When eating meals, she watches them sitting on the table until she is finished, then back in her hands they go.  I have learnt that they are a great bargaining tool as well!   It is normally a 20 minute battle to get her coat on after daycare each day, but now, she puts that coat on quickly and sticks her little hands out for those pom poms!


So I browsed pinterest for some pom pom crafts and games and found so many that I may have to start a board solely for pom poms! I decided to try this game called “Pom Pom Drop” as it was easy, cheap and fast to make!

All you need are the following materials:

-empty coffee can (with lid)

-knife (or scissors)

-pom poms

Cut a slit (small hole) in the lid of the can, and let your toddler push each pom pom through the hole.  That is it! (I’m serious, quickest craft ever)  .  It is that simple (and cheap), and my daughter was captivated for hours! This is great practice for fine motor skills too!

 

We of course took it to the next level, and decorated the can with stickers!  (That made this game last even longer)

 

Until next time…xx