Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Haven: Day Two

Today is day two of the "Make Your Home a Haven" challenge from Monica at "The Homespun Heart." As I have mentioned before, I love Monica's blog and the glimpse she allows us into the wonderful life she is crafting for her family through her faith and the joyful home she creates. This challenge is giving me a chance to strive for some of the same here at our house.

For day two, there were several tasks:
-write a handwritten note to someone
-pick one space to tidy up in the home
-pray for my home to be a haven
-take a few pictures that catch my eye

It ended up being a wonderful day. Some of my photos are out of order but I don't think you will mind too much.

This evening, I wrote my note. I love stationary, I love writing and receiving letters and there is never enough time. This task came at a good time because I have had a note that I have been wanting to write. There was a situation a while ago in which, while I didn't actually do anything wrong, I didn't feel like I had treated a friend the way that I had wished to treat her. I just wanted to apologize and this evening, I sat down with one my my personal notecards (a little indulgence of mine) and wrote out my feelings to her. It was such a relief.

Now to the day in order. While we didn't have a breakfast challenge, I wanted to make breakfast a bit special and I had a great idea. As you know if you have been around here much, we were given the wonderful alphabet cookie cutters at Christmas. I gave Pk her toast cut out as her name. She was thrilled. What a nice way to start the day.
Once Baby Bean went down, I took a few minutes for a bit of cleaning before Pk and I spent our daily work time. There were two spaces that were badly in need of tidying - the shelf where I keep my kitchen linens (I have a bit of an addiction to dishtowels, place mats, tablecloths and napkins) and the kitchen table. For a long time, we ate at the dining room table and the kitchen table became a bit of a catch-all for stuff. Now that Baby Bean is eating solids, it's a bit easier to eat in the kitchen and we have been sitting at a crowded table. It may not look like a big change in the photos but it felt so good to sit down to a clear table tonight for dinner.

(And yes, I do need to iron the placemats but I didn't get a chance!) Isn't the begonia a happy addition? I love them, especially pink ones.

Our next step was Pk and my time. We always do things together when Baby Bean is asleep. Someone gave her a dollar store workbook and she fell in love with it and I have bought her several more. The teacher in me cringes at the rote learning/no high level thinking of the booklets but I am able to accept them because she is definitely improving her fine motor skills and it never hurts to review basic skills. We are also working on writing a few words (so far, she can write her name, her brother's name and we are working on 'daddy' but that pesky 'y' is tricky). Today, she was excited by the water painting book I had gotten her (Cinderella, of course).

We always follow up the table time with game time (her choice, not mine - she will always opt for either a game or a puzzle). Someone gave us this Eric Carle ABC game and while it isn't heart stopping, it reviews upper and lower case letters and while she can identify them, she doesn't "get" upper vs. lower case so it's a nice chance to build a new skill.
Once Baby Bean was up, we decided to take the dogs for a walk. It was cold and we had to bundle up (I can't wait until we don't need all the outdoor gear - I am royally sick of snowsuits). Pk thought it was funny to wear my earmuffs and it turned into quite the game.

We take our dogs to a field owned by the railway that is used by all the dog walkers (and snowmobiles, cyclists and wanderers). I put Baby Bean in the jogging stroller - normally, I like to use the Ergo and wear him on my back but I find it hard to get him on over a bulky coat without help. It was hard work pushing the stroller but the dogs had a lovely time and we got a bit of exercise and vitamin D - I heard on the weather forecast that there was even a UV index today!

Our next stop was the grocery store. Pk had developed this urge to make "jello cake" (something that came from her imagination). She's been talking about it for days and so I thought I would blow her mind by getting her to help me make one. I did an internet search and found that there is such a thing - it seems to usually be a cake mix with holes poked into it, jello poured over the top and allowed to cool and then served with whipped cream and strawberries.
I decided that we would tweak the recipe a bit to make it a bit healthier. Obviously, cake isn't mean to be health food but it seemed like a lot of sugar. I decided to take the whole wheat and honey strawberry shortcake recipe from Heavenly Homemakers (the BEST blog for healthy recipes) and use it to make mini cupcakes and then pour the jello over top. We served them with cut strawberries (which were on sale) and the result was surprisingly good! Pk and I wore our aprons, which always makes me happy (they were a gift from a parent at my school, they match but mine says Mommy and hers is smaller and says Me).

The rest of the day was nice but there wasn't much to report. We had some playtime, we had a nice nap together and then it was time for Pk's music class, which we attend as a family. Baby Bean loves listening to the music and watching the children play the instruments. I used to take both kids on my own and it was pretty crazy to manage. Dh comes with us now and that makes a huge difference.

Before I sign off for today, there is a little something that I wanted to share. Yesterday, I mentioned the scripture passage that had leapt out at me and I had been thinking over the last 24 hours about trusting God. I don't know about you but I so often find that I am surprised by the little things that seem to come when I most need them. Well, we had one of those things tonight. Money is VERY tight right now as I approach the end of my maternity leave. We are really working hard to be frugal and to avoid using credit as much as possible. Dh came home this evening and told me that we are even tighter than I thought and that for the next couple of weeks, we really need to be careful with every cent. Unfortunately, there were a few groceries that we really needed to pick up before the end of the week. I gave Dh my last few dollars and he went off to the store (before you worry, we aren't destined for the poorhouse or bankruptcy just yet, we are just very, very tight and trying hard to live off cash). On Sunday, there was a soup lunch at church and we were on to take buns. I wondered whether there would be butter so I took our butter and of course, it got used up. We were out of butter and margarine so one of the purchases (and the one we thought would be the most expensive!) Dh needed to make was butter. Imagine our surprise when he got to the store to discover that the premium brand of butter happened to be on sale for less than half price and about $2 less than we thought the cheapest brand would be. I don't want to say that as a Christian, we will always get everything that we want - the state of the world and the many good people who are suffering proves that but I can't tell you how many times, when things are feeling hard, that a little something happens that makes me think that we will manage and that there is help out there for us.

I hope you had a wonderful day and I look forward to reading about your Haven days!


  1. I loved seeing your day! It made me so happy. Your kiddos are so cute! I loved your breakfast table (who cares if the placemats aren't ironed!) and the creative breakfast!

  2. I remember following this same "series" or challenge last year....glad you brought it to my attention again.

    I think I will crack out our St. Patty's day tablecloth tomorrow since it's March.

  3. Another lovely day you made in your home! And, what a great testimony to God's wonderful provision and care for you - even that He cares for butter to be on sale! I love it!

    Blessings on your day today!

  4. My Grandma used to always make jello cake. I don't think I have ever made it but if I did I would be tweaking it to make it healthier as well.

    What a neat story of God's provision on the butter.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Abbi! It's so nice to meet you!