This is my first post being back from our whirlwind summer! And I needed to talk about something very important.
Today is the 4 year anniversary of the birth of my 4th child, my son, Abraham.
On August 30th, 2012 I went into labour and delivered at home a little boy, tiny and perfect.
In the last few years I've written about the experience. First writing about it in a post called "Abraham", and last year in a post called "Remembering & Forgetting: Abraham"
At the end of the post I wrote last year, I talked about a little boy at church who was born on Abraham's due date, and who I basically avoided at all costs because it was too painful to see him. I mentioned that I "took a step" and actually talked to his Mom while she was with him, and how this was huge for me. To actually be close to this little boy, this boy who every time I looked at I imagined what my Abraham would have looked like. It was a big deal for me.
But here's the thing....God was planning something. Something that would take this one giant step further. I felt as though God was just near me, providing quiet comfort all these years, and suddenly he shouted, "MOVE FORWARD!!!".
He did it out of love, but it still hurt.
He wasn't saying "move on & forget", he was just saying "move forward".
After much thought, I decided to take a job this summer as a camp cook at the beautiful Pleasant Bay Camp. I knew the job of being a camp cook would be difficult, that it would require early mornings, late nights, sweaty and stressful days, planning to a T, and managing staff.
What I didn't plan on was that the woman leading the Leader In Training (LIT) programme would be living in the cottage next to me. This woman was none other than the woman from church who's son was born on Abrahams due date. The very child and family I had been avoiding was suddenly living next to me, walking around camp where I would see them, and eating in my dining hall every meal. I was suddenly and without warning, face to face with a little boy who had no clue what I've been through, or why I find him upsetting.
What happened during the three week LIT programme weeks though was something I couldn't have planned. I wouldn't have planned it, honestly. I became friends with this little boys wonderful mother and father, and I stopped avoiding their son. He has special dietary needs, and he'd often have a different frozen treat as dessert, and I was able to give him his dessert, and wait for him to say "thank-you", and look into his beautiful eyes and know that just because he was here and Abraham wasn't didn't mean that I had to shut this little guy out.
At one point this woman joked about how we'd been going to church with each other for 5 years and hadn't really talked much or become friends, but how now that we were at camp we were becoming friends.
At the end of the 3 weeks, just before this Mum was set to leave because the LIT programme was finishing, we had a random heart to heart.
She said to me that, even though we weren't friends at the time, she remembers my struggle during the time I had my second mis-carriage. She said that she felt badly that she hadn't said anything to me then, but just wanted me to know that she remembers my loss.
I shared with her then that I appreciated her saying that, and also shared with her how I'd had a miscarriage before that, and how my due date was on her son's birthday, and how us not being friends at church was my fault, my design. I told her I was avoiding her and her son.
I walked away from this encounter feeling God say to me, "you did it!!! You took one giant, giant, GIANT step forward!!!"
I still feel sadness deep in my heart about the loss of Abraham, but the hurt is softer now, somehow.
I feel like letting this little boy from church into my life let the hurt of losing Abraham fade a little. And that hurt needed to fade. There are so many feelings involved in a miscarriage, and most of those feelings are grey, not black or white. So letting go of these mysterious and un-namable feelings is extremely difficult.
Tonight, the kids and I stood by the garden we buried Abraham in, and Abby, my middle child, starts singing "happy birthday" to him, and I burst into tears. She stopped singing and apologized, but I said, "No, I'm not upset at you. I think it's beautiful that you wanted to sing to your brother. I'm crying because it hurts that we'll never have a birthday party for him here with us". Then Keziah, the youngest, pipes up and says, "maybe God is having a birthday party for him?". Then I really cried.
I wish I could see Abraham now, but I am happy with my family and my life. I have 3 amazing, beautiful, talented, smart, fairly whiney kids here on earth with me. I have a super handsome husband who loves me, no matter what crazy crap I'm going through. I have a dog who adores me, a cat who adore me even more, and 2 horses who adore me even more!!!
I realized this summer that moving forward, and moving on are very different things. One involves embracing the loss and the hurt, seeing the beautify that remains, and choosing to live in that new beauty. The other involves bottling up any feelings, pretending the loss never happened, and living with the hurt deep inside, unexpressed.
The Mom of the little boy who I became friends with talked a few times about becoming who you are, in spite of, and because of the hurt and hardships one goes through. You can't forever live in that loss, and let it be a thing in your life that stops you from living. It needs to be the thing that drives you to live. But this happens willingly, not just by chance. You need to take what you've been given, and turn it into a beautiful thing.
One night in early August, one of the kitchen staff and I went out at 1 am to watch a meteor shower. As I lay outside on my quilt, hearing the waves crashing near me on the beach, and seeing stars shoot across the sky above me, I thought about how small I really am, in light of how large the world is. And still, in all of this, I mattered to God. My feelings mattered to him. But more importantly, my heart mattered to him. I came to camp at the beginning of summer expecting to be stretched and to grow, but I ended up stretching and growing in ways I never imagined. God took what was a heart "content" with hiding and hurt, and opened it up, and filled it with a healing balm. I never thought that being close to, and getting to know, the sweet little guy who reminded me of my loss and pain would be the very same child to heal parts of my heart I was "happy" to leave broken and scarred.
I am happy today. Not because of my loss, obviously, but because I can say with joy and healing in my heart, that I am moving forward. I am moving forward with love and gladness in my heart.
If you're reading this, and your pain from a mis-carriage is still so new, and raw and real, I understand you and feel your hurt. But I want to encourage you, and bring some light into your darkness; the pain you feel, the loss you carry with you can be a thing that becomes something beautiful in your life. This can become a step for you to become more of who you were meant to be, to become someone who can love more deeply. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but let it be a part of your heart, and it will happen eventually.
You can understand the loss others suffer more clearly, and can be a light for them. Our darkness can become light for others. Doesn't that sound amazing?! I want to be that, I want to use my hurt for healing, and use my darkness for light.
The pictures on today's post are from the camp that I worked at. Each beautiful sunset, each sunny, beautiful day at the beach reminded me how small I am, but how amazing and wonderful my God is. How he is the one who paints the sky, and creates each life, and he knows me, my family and my sweet little babies waiting for me in heaven.
When I do meet Abraham in heaven, it will be a wonderful day. A beautiful day.
I eagerly await that day!
There are a few simple and easy things you need to make a campfire with s'more an event that doesn't end in everyone having melted marshmallows in their hair, and chocolate smeared on everything!
All you need is a bucket, and a basket!......basically. : )
So, first, you'll need to find a basket, any basket will do (we use an old basket that was once from a deep freezer!), and load it up with all your s'more items!
This may seem like a "duh", but having all the ingredients in one basket together helps to keep it from getting squished under someones foot, eaten by an unattended (and sneaky) dog, and it's just easier to have it all together instead of having your mallow all toasted and ready, then realizing the graham crackers are no where to be seen, and the chocolate was set too close to the fire and melted!
So, once you've got all your things ready, you'll wanna grab a bucket, throw some wash clothes into it, a generous squirt of hand washing soap, and hot water.
Now, just bring your bucket and basket out to your camp fire, and make your s'mores! Do keep the wash bucket away from the s'more ingredient basket though - you don't want soapy hands dripping into your food!
It's not rocket science, but it sure makes campfires and s'more making a lot more fun! Well, maybe it's just my kind of fun...things tidy and clean.... : )
Things are gearing up, and we're leaving for camp this week. I won't lie, I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Not necessarily by the job itself anymore, but by the getting ready to go, and the great unknown that lies ahead. I am NOT a big fan of the great unknown!!!
So, I hope to put out a few posts this summer, but right now (with all this "unknown" business!), I'm not sure what I'll be able to do.
Don't forget me, I'll be back.
Oh yes, dear friends, there is definitely still more s'mores ideas out there!
....Hello. How are we today? I am EXHAUSTED!!!!!! : )
No, but seriously, I've been more stressed lately than I ever thought I could possibly
be - I've had a constant headache for a week, my body is aching, I have hardly slept, and I even developed a canker sore on my lip!!!
K, I'm done now. I'm just whining to all of you, to whoever will be a listening ear!
I think it's time we got back to s'mores though, because s'mores always make me feel better! : )
In August of 2014 I wrote a s'more compilation post called "Please Sir....I Want S'more...", and last July I compiled another list of s'more-ific ideas in "It's Time For S'more!".
I love-LOVE-LOVE s'mores! They have been a passion of mine for years and years! So, when I recently received an e-mail from Julia Arangure of Shari's Berries with a request to share their 9 unique s'more ideas on Bushel & A Peck, I thought, "well, it's worth looking at".
Let me say that when I opened the link she sent, I went "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!".
When Julia said "unique" she meant it, and I have honestly never seen s'mores like the ones she shared with me, and that I am going to share with you!
These amazing s'more ideas where created and photographed so beautifully, and I want to try every single one of them!
So, here they are -9 unique ways to make s'mores from Sharis Berries!
........I mean, c'mon, right?!?!
I am so excited about these s'mores, and I think I want to try the birthday one first! TO find out how to make all of theses, hop on over to Sharis Berries and the original post about these 9 amazing and unique s'more ideas!
Today is Canada Day here in (obviously!) Canada! We've got the usual fun things to do in our wonderful little town of Tweed: a parade, face painting, boat tours, kids crafts, fireman water activities, live entertainers, hot dogs and cupcakes! Then, this evening we're heading to a Canada Day BBQ, where we'll be saying goodbye to some military friends who are moving to Seattle. Thumbs down to people leaving.
Anyway, I hope if you live in Canada you have a wonderful Canada Day! If you live outside of Canada, have a wonderful Friday! Either way, any day is a good day to try out a new s'more (in my opinion, at least!).
On Tuesday I'm going to share with you how we do s'mores around here so that it isn't a complete and utter disaster!
Have a great weekend!
Truthfully, the first time I heard the words "ruhbarb cake" I thought, "bleh!"I couldn't imagine how a cake made with rhubarb could taste good at all.
In one of our horse paddocks we have a large rhubarb patch though, and a neighbour asked if she could take some to make this "rhubarb cake". I only really use it to eat the crazy sour stuff raw (it's alarming and refreshing!), and I've made a paleo strawberry rhubarb bare bottom pie last year for national strawberry rhubarb day, but that's it. I never even went out to cut it down and freeze it because I just never really loved much that was made from rhubarb.
Anywho...back to my neighbour....she got some rhubarb from our field, made some cake, and brought some over for me to try...and, let me tell you people, this freakin' cake was so good! So, so, soooo good!!! I'm a little excited about this cake. I plan on making 2 more today! I feel some sadness over the rhubarb I've let go to waste because I didn't know about this delightful cake.
This cake is a very simple white cake with rhubarb mixed in, and a crumbly, buttery, cinnamon-sugary topping. It is very moist, and not too sweet, not too sour.
After I had made 3 pans of my own rhubarb cake, I brought some over to another neighbour who said that he quite hates rhubarb, and has never had any cake, pie or jam of it that he enjoyed. So I told him I wouldn't be offended if he didn't try it, but he said he would anyway. He said he was always willing to try something, just in case. Well, didn't I go back to see him the next day and he couldn't believe how good the cake was! He said (in a thick Italian accent) that his face didn't pucker, and that the sweetness wasn't too much and he loved the cinnamon in it.
Adapted from Oma's Rhubarb Cake
For the Cake:
For the Topping:
The first time I tried making this it was a gloomy Saturday. The weather was gloomy, and I felt gloomy.
By the time the cake was finished and cooled, the sun had come out and the weather was no longer gloomy - and neither was I! The cake smelled so good, and looked so beautiful, and tasted so wonderful!
So, that's all there is to this lovely little cake!
Tonight the girls have a soccer game, then I think we'll let them have some time playing at the splash pad, and maybe we'll have a campfire tonight too. We plan to go and visit some friends tomorrow who we don't get to see too often, so I am looking forward to that also.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
So, yesterday I went with my middle child on a field trip to a place called "Sky Zone Trampoline Park". I wasn't sure (at all!) what to expect, but it turned out be a really fun day (except for the long bus ride there and back!). I don't know how to describe the "park" exactly, except to say that everything is trampoline based! It was fun, and (total) I probably jumped on a trampoline for at least an hour - which is a lot for an old gal like me! : ) Ok, the jumping itself wasn't too bad, but I did need to take a lot bathroom breaks to make sure I didn't pee myself! Hahaha, seriously though, having kids (and vaginal births!) really makes things like jumping on a trampoline more like playing a game of Russian roulette! Whomp whomp.
Anywhooooo, this recipe today is really tasty, and not difficult to put together.
There's a new Thai/Japanese restaurant in Belleville that we've been to a few times, and it has opened my eyes to the many wonderful Thai (and Japanese) dishes I've never known about. I also tried sushi (well, I tried it once before, about 10 years ago and hated it!) and really loved it. So, all that to say I've been experimenting at home with different Thai flavours, and I was pleased as punch with this dish.
The sauce is adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo's Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce, and the meatballs are just a few ingredients with nothing fancy. Well, unless you consider sesame seeds fancy? If you want to make your own Asian cuisine at home, just get yourself some sesame seeds! Just commit to it; they aren't terribly expensive and they are delightful and (in my opinion) essential in making Asian foods! All that said....you can omit the sesame seeds if you don't have any. But just get some. : )
Thai Meatballs with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
For the Sweet & Spicy Sauce:
For the meatballs:
For the sauce:
***If kids are eating this, and they don't like spicy food, just leave some of the meatballs out of the sauce. They still taste great on their own!***
So, really, a pretty strait forward recipe, but with really fantastic results!
I like to eat this with a quick fry of shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, thinly sliced peppers and onions, and spiralized zucchini. I'll just top it with the meatballs, and spoon a little extra sauce on it.
Anyway, on Monday on my health & fitness post I talked about dealing with stress. One of the things that had been causing me anxiety was a decision to cook at a camp this summer. Once I decided I would do it, I got started on menus. I like creating menus, but I've only had to do it for my family, and special menus for if guests are coming over.
So, I'm putting it out there - what kind of food would you consider quintessentially "summer camp", and what foods would you think could work on a summer camp menu? I always lean towards healthy options, but I realize (and my husband keeps reminding me!) that the whole world, and most children, don't eat or believe in eating the way I do. So I need to balance healthy foods with camp foods, oh, and all on a budget too! This might be a challenge, but I am totally up for it! Input would be welcomed though!!!
So please, if you've read all this way, give me some suggestions!
Have a great weekend!
I'm still here!
Life has felt a little topsy turvy lately, but I'm here today to share on my Health & Fitness page some tips for dealing with stress! Check it out, would ya?
And here, to help with any stress, is a few funnies! : )
I know, right?!? I didn't realize this, but now that I know....life changed forever!
My sister sent me this one and it made me laugh out loud, and want cupcakes...(whomp whomp)
Alright, well, I'm signing off here! Happy Monday one and all!
I'm sharing a recipe today that was from Paleo Parents, who shared if from Julie Bauer's cookbook "Paleo Cookbook" So much sharing!
I like to do a syrup based breakfast for the kids on Saturday mornings - wait, what? You don't know what a "syrup based breakfast", is? Well, it's a food item that gives you an excuse to eat maple syrup!!! :) I am truly Canadian.
Anyway, making great paleo pancakes can be difficult, but I've made a few that I liked a lot (like these Chocolate Monkey Pancakes), but I was wanting to try something new, and also something I could make ahead.
Well, I found this little dream of a recipe, and we loved it!
I made the mini pancakes on Friday night (and wanted to eat them right then!), then I simply stuck 'em into an airtight container overnight, and got the rest whipped up in no time in the morning!
This is so good! If you make the mini pancakes and think "why can't I just eat these like this?". Well, you can if you want to! But, making them into a delightful little pancake bake just makes it seem more like a cozy bread pudding. It seems more filling and satisfying somehow.
I also changed the recipe slightly, and swapped out the coconut milk for applesauce in the mixture you make that gets poured over the mini pancakes before being baked. It made these a wonderful, apple cinnamon pancake bake!
Anywho, it's the bees knees, and I think you should give it a whirl!
Mini Cinnamon Pancake Bake
From Paleo Parents, with some adjustments of my own
The Mini Pancakes
The Mini Cinnamon Pancake Bake
For the topping:
I have a very (VERY!) wiggly 6 year old on my lap while I'm writing this and when she saw the pictures she said, "Oooooohhhh! I looooove these french toasts!!!" : )
So, I think that sums this up nicely!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Until a few years ago I would not - nay - COULD not eat shrimp. Originally, this started from a place of growing up not eating a lot of shrimp, but also knowing that shrimp were bottom dwellers (garbage eaters!), made my stomach turn. This does not seem like a great intro to this post....hold on, it get's worse! Hahaha!
So, after I got over that and tried shrimp again randomly as an adult (I just tried the cold shrimp with the classic seafood sauce), I came to realize that shrimp was pretty tasty and I actually liked it. And then, a set back.
We showed up for an Easter meal at my in-laws, and my brother-in-law had something smelling so good on the BBQ. I asked what it was and he said he had been marinating jumbo shrimp for a few hours and was now grilling them. Well, yum-diddly! I had only really eaten "party shrimp", as mentioned, but this smelled so good, and I was willing to try!
Well, didn't he just bring me one when they were ready.....and it was a large, frightening, unpeeled shrimp! I literally went, "OH NO! No, no, no, no, I can't eat that....". Like a baby. Like a giant baby.
My father-in-law came to the rescue and offered to peel it for me (where I couldn't see him doing it!), and then I ate that shrimp. It was tasty. But I knew my shrimp limits then and there. If the shrimp is naked, I'm good. If it's got eyes, and creepy little legs. Good golly, keep it away from me!!!
For this post I wanted to find some useful links to help with the peeling and deveining process, and literally, out loud at my computer sat going, "Bleeeeh! Eeeewwwwwww!!" while making faces of disgust. I still can't handle shrimp that look like little sea creatures. Here's a link for those of you who can handle it though!
If all of this made you question eating shrimp at all....I'm sorry. Seriously, so sorry.
This coconut shrimp is so good though....you may want to reconsider your feelings. I shan't ever change my feelings about shrimp I'd need to peel and devein, but shrimp that's ready for fried coconutty goodness? That's a no brainer!
These tasty morsels come together easily and relatively quickly. They are great on a salad, served with sauce, eaten alone, and even eaten cold the next day! I usually eat mine next to a mountain of Moo-shu (I just make a meat free version).
Paleo Coconut Shrimp
From Wiked Spatula
Looks good, eh? It is. It so is.
Well, that's all for today! I didn't get a chance to post anything last Friday because it just turned into a day of busyness (not business), and then last minute my husband and I decided to go out for a late anniversary dinner, and well, the day just vanished. Poof!
Anywho, how do you feel about shrimp? I want to know! So, feel free to share with me your truest feelings about the little sea creature. : )
My sister sent me this, and I literally laughed out loud!
So, enjoy a good laugh this Monday on me (via my sister)!
Over on my Health & Fitness space I talk about helping to keep kids active! Go and check it out! Aww, go on, just go. : )
For a little Monday laugh, I wanted to share one of my all time favourite YouTube videos of a dear wee lass trying her darndest to get into first position in her ballet class. She's a freakin' hoot!
I hope everyone had a great Monday!
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
You'll find here things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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