So, it’s always a challenge for us moms to come up with lunch ideas for the kids that they will actually like. Extra points for quick & simple, right? Extra bonus double points if the parents will enjoy it too, right?!
Well let me share one of my new favorite go-to ideas for an easy warm lunch: I call it the pizzadilla. All you need are tortillas, tomato sauce, pepperoni or salami, and cheese. Maybe it’s not so many steps above mac & cheese every day nutrition-wise, but you can improve it by using whole grain, organic, nitrate free, etc. versions of all the ingredients. Which I normally do when I have those on hand. Serve with your favorite fruits or veggies & you’ve got a balanced quick & EASY meal that the kids & grown ups will want more of!
Recipe is pretty self-explanatory if you’ve ever made a quesadilla… or pizza… but here you go!
1. Preheat your frying pan or griddle with a tsp of oil.
2. Spread out tortilla on pan & add approx 1 tsp of tomato sauce (I like Classico because it has less added sugar and fake stuff than many brands I see on the shelves!), a couple pepperonis & some shredded mozzarella over half the tortilla.
3. Fold topping-less half of tortilla over the filling & cook til crisp & cheese is melting.
4. Flip over & toast other side.
5. Enjoy with veggies or fresh fruit to balance it out!
Tips: Allow to cool thoroughly, as the sauce can stay quite hot. If you want to add veggies to the inside of your pizzadilla, I suggest sautéing them first! yum!
Young Living Essential Oils… Help me! I want to collect each one.
Essential Oils. Are they a fad? Do they really work? What is all the hype about? Is there science & evidence behind them? These were some of the initial questions I had when friends of mine down here in Nashville started talking about oils. After a little bit of research, (and saving up my cash!) I decided to order my own set a few months ago, and experience for myself. When I got them, I stayed up researching articles, borrowed some references from friends, and got oh so excited about what I found, they really have so many uses. I began to try my oils, and I love them. It’s totally true that they really can work in a number of ways; they do more than just smell good! To answer my initial questions… EOs are certainly gaining popularity right now among the health conscious and more ‘natural’ or ‘holistic’ crowd of “crunchy” people, but with proper guidance and safe usage I don’t think they are just a fad. Yes! They really do work, and yes! There is quite a lot of decent science and research available on them. The hype is floating around because many people are trying to put their own spin on them & win sales, but we can sift through it and find the truth together. I am so happy with my oils that I have become a distributor for Young Living, the company I have found to be trustworthy and really excellent in purity. I’d love to help you find out more about essential oils, share what I am learning about safe usage, how they work for me, and how they can work for you! For now, this will remain just an introductory post or else it would be way. too. long.
So… what are essential oils?
Essential oils are the ‘lifeblood’, if you will, of the plant they come from. They contain all of that plant’s immune system and the properties that those plants use to heal themselves. Plants were people’s first medicine and even much of western medicine has basis in beneficial plant properties (only, with a lot of patentable synthetics added in). Essential oils contain hundreds of tiny chemical constituents in varying degrees, which means they are versatile and each oil can have a number of different uses. They interact easily with our own bodies, blood, and immune systems and we can benefit from their effects. Essential oils seem to work with our bodies, and may aid our bodies in the process of healing ourselves as opposed to merely suppressing unwanted symptoms.
Why I am now in love with essential oils:
they can help calm down cranky kids… and cranky parents! (not that I need that…)
they offer antibacterial and antiviral properties which bacteria and viruses are not resistant to
they have powerful anti-inflammatory and antihistamine potential that may soothe what ails you
they can improve sleep… even stop your partner’s snoring! (seriously: ask me how)
they smell beautiful and are basically amazing
they can improve focus, alertness, concentration and some even enhance prayer & meditation
How I am using essential oils:
diffused and inhaled at intervals for sleep, relaxation & emotional benefits; improved concentration
diluted topically for headaches, pain, or cramps
diluted topically as perfume
diffused to purify the air, and help kill airborne viruses or bacteria
diluted to help treat or possibly prevent colds/throat/ear infections
with back massage to decrease pain & improve relaxation
I’m still learning! Looking for articles & studies, stories from people who have used them with success- with my nursing background, I want evidence. Bit by bit, I hope to share with you here on the blog. If you would like more info, or to are already ready to order your own Young Living essential oils contact me via email, find me on Facebook to join my Essentials group, or follow this link.
Since living in the states, our anniversary date has become a little ironic– it was this day, 11 years ago that Mr D and I tied the knot and basically became… ‘dependent’ on each other. But Happy Independence Day to you! The last decade and a bit have meant so many great adventures together; from buying homes, having kids, multiple job and career changes, traveling, and most recently moving country. And there have been a few really hard and completely unplanned adventures too with job loss, a rare illness, loss of a baby in pregnancy, and of course the occasional trouble figuring out finances. But I’m so thankful that we have committed to each other through both the amazing ups and brutal downs, the uncertainty, the good and the bad because there’s no other ‘dude’ I would want to hold hands and walk through it all with. I guess I’m feeling a bit sappy this morning reflecting on our life so far together, thankful that we picked each other, and hoping there’s still lots more greatness ahead!
So my guy is a bit of a songwriter. He normally writes his songs about God and for the church, but on rare occasion I have been surprised with one just for me. And I do mean rare occasion, because even though he cranks out tons of songs each year, I think I have about 3 that relate to ‘us’. So obviously that makes those 3 much more special, they are few! If you’re a fan of his reading this, maybe it would be a fun adventure to try to find them (and if you already know the song referenced in this song that I’m about to post, then you’re probably not a fan at all but maybe a long time friend and… haha I love you). Anyway, I just thought I would share my special wedding day song on here today in honor of our anniversary & a sweet reminder that as a Christian couple we’re striving to be ‘living for heaven’ together the whole journey long.
PS I also want to say that 19 year old me didn’t even cry when he sang this to me at our wedding reception! 30 year old me is a bit different and tears up a little, though, because it’s just so nice.
Ever since Mr. D. has been a touring kind of guy, he’s had to work A LOT of weekends. It’s kind of hard because most ‘normal’ families where the parents have ‘normal’ jobs are usually busy doing fun or relaxing family stuff together on their Saturdays & Sundays. Thankfully, we do usually make up for it somewhat by having our family times on other days of the week, or occasionally taking a little trip somewhere to join the band for a weekend when possible. Who doesn’t love the chance to get away with hotel & food covered? Those little trips are definitely a great perk of the tour life, and they make for some awesome memories! More often though, it’s just me home with the kids. All the kids. And not even school to help me out keeping them occupied for a few hours of the day. Usually, my own kids also want me to arrange to invite over other people’s kids… And that idea doesn’t usually take off.
Here’s the Mr. with the kids during a sound check on stage in Gatlinburg, TN where we got to join the band for a weekend conference. Hard to get them all smiling! Ha, Booster.
We aren’t at that stage of 1000 sports and commitments yet, so at least there’s no real obligation to be places at certain times each weekend, but that means I am coming up with stuff to keep us busy enjoying our most-of-the-family time together. So the routine looks something like this: I get everybody fed and ready for the day and suggest something we can do together; they say no and complain, and then we go and try to all have fun. We have a few favorite types of places that we head to- parks (obviously), the farmers market (for fresh goodies), and… thrift shops (to either get a little thrill from spending, or practice some self-discipline deciding to save the $1 allowance each kid gets per week. And of course, I’m always looking for a deal on my favorite thing ever: fiesta ware.). Luckily, this tires the little people out a bit, so we head home for lunch and the calmest part of my day: quiet time & nap time. Baby Joybee takes huge naps, so after Q.T. the rest of the afternoon I just try to let everyone play… NICELY, if possible. I am the referee of play time.
This brings me to how I often like to end off my weekend evenings alone with the kids; one of the best parts of our most-of-the-family time… Pizza and movie night! Because it’s win, win. A dinner food the kids actually LIKE (and like without complaining first), and chill time for me because it’s easy to prepare, and then involves a lot of sitting down watching the TV. It doesn’t cost us much because I stock pizza ingredients every week… and Netflix has always got a mom’s back! Tonight we watched Disney’s ‘Brother Bear’, which we thought was pretty okay.
This is maybe not my most beautiful pizza. But tasty!
Here’s my PIZZA DOUGH recipe:
Start by mixing 1 cup of hot water (hot from the tap is good) with 2Tbsp active dry yeast and 1tsp sugar or honey in your medium or large bowl. Let sit at least 15 minutes, until bubbly.
Next add in 1 cup of flour, 1tsp of salt, and 1tbsp of olive oil. Stir it up. Continue to gradually add in flour maybe 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture starts to take shape. Once it becomes difficult to stir with a spoon, wash your hands & remove your rings & knead it up! If it’s sticky and gooey, add more flour. Knead until texture is a uniform ball and consistency when you pinch it can be compared to that of your earlobe. Typically, there are approximately 3 cups flour to 1 cup of water. (I often include up to 1/2 cup whole wheat flour within the total flour amount without anyone noticing a difference in case you want to sneak in a little fiber!)
Preheat your oven. I usually broil at 500 and place my pizza stone in to preheat too. Let dough rise in a warm area for 30 mins. That’s it!
To top, any pizza or pasta sauce will do but my fave is simply a little jar of plain tomato sauce and I add salt, pepper, and a little garlic. Then you control what type of extras you add! Our go-to toppings are mozzarella, pepperoni, green olives, and mushrooms (on half). The options are endless. Enjoy!
When we decided to move from Canada to Tennessee we didn’t immediately qualify for a mortgage. Apparently being responsible homeowners of 10 years really didn’t mean anything to the banks here… so we got to start all over. We scouted ads for rentals online, discovered the place where we landed, and signed the contract via email– sight unseen. It felt kind of adventurous. We paid a pet fee for our [now MIA] kitty even though it was actually the kids who caused the wear & tear!
Having been here for a year now, we’re finally packing up to move to a place of our own. Here’s a little summary of a few things I’ve loved and hated about living in our Tennessee town-house.
Love: It was a new building with an open floor plan, high ceilings and 1700 sq ft.
Hate: We came from 2800 sq ft so much of our stuff has remained piled dangerously sky high in our garage for the whole year. The open floor plan meant living room and play room were one and the same. So it was hard to find anywhere to sit and drink coffee in peace toy-and-kid free!
But… Love: We learned we really can get by without a huge chunk of our ‘stuff’.
Love: There is hardly any snow here.
Hate: There is hardly any snow here. But somehow there are still “Snow Days” at school.
Love: The backyard was a large common area with big hills for the kids to run & play on. The kiddos could go many houses over and feel like they’re on their own adventuring, but I could still keep an eye on them and even hear most of what they say [mostly because they yell]. These hills were great for southern sledding– tobogganing on the grass, snow or no snow.
Hate: While Southern Sledding may have worked, the hills were too steep to ride the Lightning McQueen “Big Wheel” downward and at full-speed. And the giant holly trees halfway down are too prickly to crash into comfortably, as Booster discovered just this afternoon. There were a few tears…
Love: We got to be friends with some great neighbors who are often available to chat & play directly out our sliding back door. Two families in particular are pretty much the best. These friends, and the kids’ easy adjustments in their new school are some of the main reasons we decided to build our new house just 2 blocks away from where we are right now.
Hate: Our new place is 2 whole blocks away from our favorite friends. While it still seems very close, in the near future we’ll have to teach our kids to use the telephone and actually arrange get-togethers. Or maybe we can buy a fun backyard toy to lure them up and over to our new street.
So I suppose it’s mostly been love for our Tennesse town-house. We’re happy we found it and got to spend our first year settling into Nashville living here. But, honestly, very much looking forward to having our own place again.
Hate: Looking at the carpet here I don’t expect we’ll see any of our deposit back, and that would only be fair.
Even though I’m working hard at watching my weight (i.e. trying to watch the number on the scale go DOWN), there’s one thing I have a really hard time resisting. Cookies. I make them pretty often because I way prefer homemade over store bought cookies for the kids. Think: control over & knowledge of each of your ingredients. And our favorite cookies are not just any cookies… they’re actually the cookies I used to convince my husband to fall in love with me.
It’s true. These cookies are so good that serving them to the guy you have your eye on MAY lead to happily ever after. Most likely not, but it is possible. It worked for me.
Way back a long, long time ago when I was just 18, I came up with this strategy for impressing my Mr. Dummer. He and his youth group were pretty active in volunteering for a men’s ministry downtown in Hamilton; he used to lead a bible study and worship time there. On this particular weekend, some girlfriends and I decided to join them with a service project that was helping to update a building that had once been a sketchy brothel into a men’s residence & social service center. It was fun, we worked together and cleaned & painted & hauled old stuff out to play a small role in preparing a dump of a place for some of the good work they continue to do. And after a day of hard work, snacks were required! Out in the parking lot while figuring out our rides home, I was ready with the snack.
I baked the cookies at home, which had my family kind of excited for a treat, but no. “What? You’re using my ingredients and not going to share with me?” I remember my mom had asked. So I left her one or two… but I had decided that these cookies were special. The cookies were for him. I took them with me in a Ziploc baggie & saved them until after our volunteer day was done. I don’t even think I offered them to any of our friends at all, just shyly handed over at least a dozen cookies to the young Mr. D, like “Hey, I made these for you.” He took them and ate most of them on the spot. When he got home- strangely not hungry- his mom knew that the maker of the cookies had a crush on her boy. It actually took her saying so before he figured it out! But from then on, he loved me for sure.
The recipe is no secret! It’s been around the web & KRAFT peanut butter labels for years, but somehow I feel like I am the only one making these cookies because everybody compliments them as if they’ve never tried such a thing. They are really quick & have just 5 ingredients, total. Another awesome fact about them is that they’re gluten free! Which means I can even serve them to my mom-in-law and my numerous friends who no longer enjoy the floury stuff. They are full of peanut butter, though, so obviously not safe for ALL food allergies. Sometimes I like to make this treat when the hubby comes home from tour because it is still a favorite after 10+ years. And I try hard not to help the family too much with eating them. Let me know what you think.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (of love)
1 cup Kraft Peanut Butter (Jif natural can work, but unfortunately the texture & consistency of other natural PB does not work!)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix first 4 ingredients together well, stir in chocolate chips, then drop by teaspoon onto baking sheet. No need to flatten with fork. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool & enjoy!
So… let me give you a quick introduction to my little ones. They really are great, but they’re also a major handful! I think I will give them nicknames, so that I can pretend I am giving them a little bit of internet privacy. I’ve got L-boy, who is 7 and in first grade; then next is P-tots who will be 6 this summer, she is in kindergarten. I’ve got Booster who is 4, and Joy bee, 2, both of whom stay home with me full-time to ensure that I never fully relax. Half of them have cute white-blond hair that the Southerners call “tow heads”. I have no idea what that means.
I think all the mommies can relate to this one… but it may possibly be worse for the band wives when the band guys are on the road. You just can’t turn your backs on the littles. Yet you have to let your guard down every once in a while even when you’re the only one manning the fort. Like this weekend for example, the band is off on a far away coast that some like to call the ‘best coast’ (I wouldn’t REALLY know though, because I have only been over there once, briefly). This means I am home solo with my crew, that’s just part of being a band wife.
The kiddos pay attention to what you’re up to. They like to take every opportunity that you’re not looking to get into something that they KNOW you don’t want them into. Especially the littlest guys. Today, like most days, I decided to take a shower. And today, also like most days, my shower was interrupted by one kid announcing what the other kid was sneaking into. So I cut my shower short to save the day and see what the fuss was about… Joybee- just trying out some mascara! She wore it well, don’t you think? As did my bathroom wall.
The fact that you’re here must mean that you are aware that I’ve decided to start this new blog… Hi! Welcome to my site!
I am hoping that this blog will serve a couple of different purposes; first, as a way to help stay connected and up to date with friends and family back home by sharing some glimpses of whatever thing we may get up to day to day. (I miss you guys!)
I’m also hoping that this will become a place where I can begin to articulate my “story”. Maybe this is interesting, or maybe this will be an exercise just for me, but over the past year we have been a part of a church that really reminds us that life is a spiritual journey. The church so often reminds us of that fact because, well… it is called ‘Journey’. Reflecting on where we’ve been, envisioning where we’re going and realizing how God was and is constantly shaping this whole thing as we try to honor Him; that is the story. I’d love to record some of mine in words, especially since I’m not always a gushing type in person. We could be good friends, and maybe I will come up with some new thing to share that you never. even. knew!
And finally, I’d love to use this blog as a space to share all kinds of random things that I just LIKE.
So… since writing is hard and I haven’t really done it at all since university, maybe I will start off by giving you this list of things about myself rather than a million paragraphs. Here goes: I’m Meg. I like coffee, “hot tea” (as we now say), humor and sarcasm; chocolate, and guacamole. I love my husband and we have the 4 very best kids. We are Canadians living in Nashville. I try my best to love God and care for people. I maintain my nursing license in Ontario because I’m not quite ready to let that qualification go. I’m not the most patient. I’m a little bit stubborn. I procrastinate a fair bit even though I have very few deadlines… I try to be healthy. Homemaking, mothering, cooking, cleaning [bums] etc. is my full-time gig. I want to buy everything that is teal; cyan; aquamarine; and of course, turquoise.
Thanks for following along! Look forward to reading your comments.