Wednesday, October 12, 2011

::new blog address::

It's time to start fresh.

Please join me at my new blog:

xo Meg

Saturday, September 24, 2011

::Love is...::

Sharing a fantastic post from SheLoves Magazine today: a parent's take on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.

Though I have all the right words, but have not love, I might as well be talking to the back of your head.
Though I have all the answers to your every question and have read every parenting book and have all the resources to pave the way for your perfect future but don’t have love, I have nothing.
Though I give you everything I have and sacrifice every ounce of my energy to keep your every-growing body in clothes that fit and feed you square meals and ensure your teeth are brushed and your emotions are vented and your friendships maintained and oh, maybe even eventually send you off to college – but have not love, it’s useless.
Love is patient as it paces back and forth across the living room late into the night, rocking you to sleep. It endures as you talk my ear off in the car after school. It smiles as you ask for another bedtime story. It drives you to karate and to birthday parties and to the mall to hang with your friends. It sits at the table and encourages you as you try to solve math equations I can’t understand. It is full of grace as you accidently knock the Rice Krispies out of the pantry and across the kitchen floor. Again.
Love isn’t jealous when you would rather trade your homemade sandwich for a friend’s twinkie at recess. Love doesn’t need to prove that I know more than you do, that I’m the boss of you, that I have it all figured out.
Love doesn’t rub your nose in your mistakes but extends its arms with grace. It doesn’t keep a mental list of how many times you’ve messed up. It doesn’t whine about how much it has to do and how little thanks it gets. Love doesn’t lose its cool over silly things that will be forgotten tomorrow.
Love is crazy for Truth, and celebrates when you discover it.
Love can deal with the tantrums and the mood swings. It trusts God in every season, and it carries on and on into grandparenthood. It’s the screaming cheerleader at your game, the beaming face in the crowd at your recital, and the basketcase on the night before your wedding. It’s the voice on the phone checking in… the porch light on, waiting, at the end of the day.
Love won’t quit. 
Colourful toys and baby blankets will eventually be packed up and put away. Field trips, sports days and school dances will come and go.
One day, in the light of eternity, we’ll better understand the depth and complexity of this heartbreaking, beautiful life we share…
But for now we have three tasks to keep us on track: Put all our faith in God, hope wholeheartedly, and love lavishly. And the very best thing we can do is love.
-Written by Angela Doell 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Fall is my favourite season. It used to be for the fashion. Now that I'm a mom and live in the Prairies, it's admittedly mostly for the food. (Ha!) All things pumpkin BEG me to consume them, and anything warm and savoury is pretty much guaranteed to make me want to snuggle in with the family and enjoy a quiet night at home, wearing socks and sweaters, playing a good ol' game of cards.

Earlier this week, I went into my well-loved recipe file and pulled out the list of yummy soups I'll be making in the next month or two. They include beef barley vegetable, French onion, butternut squash, cheater chicken noodle (made with a store-bought rotisserie bird), and, of course, Jamie Oliver's Spanish Chickpea & Chorizo soups.

But I must say, while French onion soup is one of my classic all-time faves, The Pioneer Woman's Sherried Tomato Soup offers a delicious grown-up twist on a childhood staple. Heavy cream, fresh herbs and an entire cup of cooking sherry give Ree's version an extra warmth that is unrivaled. (Well, I'll bet most of the "warmth" comes from the sherry!) Paired with her buttery thyme bread, you can't go wrong. This is definitely tonight's supper. I needed to use up the last of our garden-fresh tomatoes, anyway!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

::stopping the cycle of mom guilt::

This summer, I welcomed a friend and her young family to their first posting: Shilo! They arrived in sunny Manitoba from B.C. in June and quickly adapted to Army life: dealing with the unknown, sporadic work schedule; getting to know the neighbours; keeping the kids occupied while trying to settle into their house. I have to say, they have adapted like champs and have been so positive in their integration – it makes me love Manitoba even more to see their enthusiasm about their new home.

Of course, arriving in the summer is wonderful because of the beautiful weather, but for a four-year-old and a two-year-old who don’t know anyone, it can get quite lonely. I have heard siblings close in age often play well together (fingers crossed for when my little guy learns to actually “play” with his big sis), and these two little girls are best friends. But I also know siblings (especially sisters) can get sick of each other quickly. So my poor girlfriend finds herself refereeing the girls all day while hubby is working, because they have yet to really meet other kids of the same age.

I had them over recently to play with Heidi and over the course of a couple of hours, the youngest went from happy and energetic to sullen and clingy, and the oldest got a little bossy and forgot her manners once or twice, interrupting the grown-up conversation to tell her mom something.

Of course, this exasperated my friend and resulted in a few tears between all the little girls at certain points, but it was nothing we couldn’t move past with some soft-spoken explanation and encouragement from the moms.

Later that evening, I got an email from my girlfriend, in which she apologized for her kids’ behaviour. I knew she felt tired and overwhelmed, and would probably have liked some alone time, just like any other mom. But I realized that feeling the need to apologize for a two- and four-year-old’s behaviour is quite silly, and didn’t help her confidence. I certainly don’t expect perfection from little kids. They are, after all, just kids, and our job as mothers is to teach them, and correct them when they forget how to apply what they’ve learned.

I suggested to her in my reply that she and I should simply stop apologizing for our kids and their little outbursts, attitudes, and silly comments; we are both doing the best we can and learning as we go. So we agreed to just go forward with the knowledge that kids will be kids and we will be there to help them learn, no apologies.

This got me thinking about being out in public with little kids and dreading the inevitable grocery-store tantrum. While most of society has been a parent to a toddler at some point, why does it seem most people have parental amnesia in the public, sending annoyed glares in a frustrated parent’s direction when their child makes a fuss? Can’t we have some sympathy on the parents, instead of reminding them with a stern, annoyed look and heaving sigh that our shopping trip has been ruined by the shrieks of a strong-willed child?

So my suggestion is this: band together with the parents of your children’s friends and decide to be on the same team. Don’t expect perfection from your friends or their kids; don’t feel the need to apologize for tired, cranky, or otherwise “normally”-behaved bambinos (unless, of course, it’s warranted!); and please, offer a frazzled mom or dad a smile of reassurance next time you see them at the mall. Let’s stop perpetuating the guilt we heap on ourselves and work together to grow strong, sensible children.

Written for The Carberry News Express, published every Monday in Carberry, Manitoba

::monster cookies::

Cookies so big they require a plate? Yes, please!

Came upon this recipe on the other day and was stoked to try it. It has a 4.5/5 star rating and the reviews are awesome.

I love chewy cookies, but mine always seem to come out crispy. These really are the huge kind you find at Starbucks or other coffee shops. Honestly, the recipe only makes 18 cookies (!), but one is all you need.  With 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, they are super rich. I think what makes these so amazing is melting your butter, bringing your eggs up to room temperature, and the extra yolk (don't miss that step!).

Here is the recipe, with my tweaks!

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/4 cup peanut butter chips and 3/4 cup semi-sweet - yum!)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a medium bowl with beaters), cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (the Pampered Chef's large scoop worked great!). Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. I fit 9 per sheet, in a chevron pattern.

Bake for 19-21 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Eat up! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I have been running for two months now (since July 11). I can't believe that in the span of eight weeks, I've gone from a completely unfit, post-baby, "I-eat-whatever-I-want-and-don't-care" body to officially considering myself a "runner."

I started running to:

-get out of the house,
-work up a sweat,
-gain some endurance and energy,
-take some time for myself, and, of course,
-lose my baby weight.

I found an app on the iPhone called LogYourRun that calculates EVERYTHING for me, and even has a host of running programs to choose from, based on your end goal. (At first, when I didn't know how to properly navigate the site, all I could see were the marathon and half marathon programs. They scared me silly.) When I finally realized I could choose a different goal, I chose the "Complete Beginners 10 k run" program, which helps you work up to 10 kms over eight weeks.

With the 10 km deadline being next Friday's Terry Fox Run here on base, I have successfully worked my way (so far) from the first training session of running 1 minute, walking 2 minutes, eight times (which took me a grand total of 2.9 kms - haha!), to today's run of running 30 minutes, walking 2 minutes, twice (8.4 kms - yeah!).

Dora and I running along the ATV trail on base.

In 2004, I came home from a 2.5 month trip to Europe 22 lbs heavier than when I left (France has the best bread, wine and cheese, ok?), and decided to try running to lose that weight. I joined a 13-week InTraining running clinic put on by the Vancouver Sun Run and realized that even though I had only run sprints in track & field when I was younger, long-distance running was indeed a possibility for me. I learned that I simply needed to start slow and work my way up to my goal. The best part was that it was all laid out for me - all I had to do was go down the list each week and complete the sessions one by one (without looking too far ahead and becoming discouraged!). I did it and ran the 10 km Vancouver Sun Run in 64 minutes.

Being that I ran 64 mins yesterday and only travelled 8.4 kms, I obviously have some time to make up in the next week. But I think it can be done. Even if I'm a few minutes behind, it will certainly feel good to know that I am more fit, healthier, and have more energy than 8 weeks ago. So far, I have lost 8 lbs and have 12 lbs to go to get to my pre-Heidi weight.

But let me be the first to clarify I am not on a diet. We eat pretty healthy already, but I do love me some chocolate. I have stopped baking so much but I don't deny myself something yummy if it's around. (Chocolate fondue night with the girls? Heck yes! Cheesecake at Gullivers? You bet! Ice cream in Minnedosa? Uh-huh!) I mean, it's summertime, so I'm not going to get down on myself about enjoying food. I just make better choices. For example, a Twix Bar will taste great, but homemade cookies would taste better. And instead of a sugary, fatty Timmy's Ice Cap, I'll head to Starbucks for a Vivanno smoothie or skinny latte. I guess I just figure that if I'm going to eat something that's not so great for me, it had better be worth it! There is something so much more motivating about knowing that you're only cheating yourself by making poor dietary choices. I want to be in good shape to keep up with my kids, too, so my level of determination is much higher than it would be to simply want to fit into a certain dress or my favourite jeans.

So that's been my life for the past two months and I plan to keep it up. It feels good to have that time away from the house, and push myself a little farther each day. I am sure the routine will change when the snow arrives and I'll be relegated to the gym instead of the great outdoors. But until then, I am really enjoying this new part of my life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

::the love letter above all love letters::

Below is the letter of Major Sullivan Ballou of the Union Army's Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers, to his wife Sarah days before he was killed in the Battle of Bull Run. Ballou wrote the letter on July 14, 1861 while awaiting orders that would take him down to Manassas, Virginia where he was killed on July 28.  Ballou, 32, was a lawyer and father of two small boys, Edgar and Willie, who volunteered to fight for the Union Army. 

My very dear Sarah: 
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. 
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure -- and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. 
If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. 
I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt. 
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country? 
I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee. 
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles I have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed. 
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield. 
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. 
I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. 
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! 
How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more. 
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. 
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again. 
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. 
Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. 
Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. 
O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children. 

Taken from FOX News