what NOT to wear while making crabgrass gumbo & rainspout tea {small style}

this little cookbook is one of the sweetest little finds i have found in awhile {it was only $3.50!}.  it's a recipe book for dolls!  it's chronology includes every recipe from assorted hors d'oeuvres to soups & sandwiches, main dish specialities, pastries & desserts not to mention beverages and pre-planned menus for just the right occasion using nothing but the well stocked forest, sand dune or backyard supermarket. soooo cute!  okay, i'll admit i am way more into this little book than any of my kids at the moment but they sure had fun helping me try out a few recipes!

for this week's edition of {small style} i decided to include pictures of our little impromptu park picnic.  as it was impromptu, the kids were not aptly dressed for the mud factor that a few of our recipes included... so it may be a bit difficult to decipher their actual clothing under all the mud.  they were having so much fun, i decided to just embrace the sandy mess & have a little fun too!  needless to say, the van was full of protest on the way home, their hair full of sand & imaginations wildly ignited!  i love it when their clothes are so filthy their not worth saving at the end of the day... it means they had a really fun day!

 {evie}: dress {carter's}, leggings {children's place - best buy ever, they are size 12 months but she's been wearing them since she was 6 months}, slippers {joe}

 {kai}: onsie {petit problem}, shorts {gymboree}, slippers {joe}

 {davith}: t-shirt {joe}, shorts {joe}, sandals {joe}... all from end of year sale, but in next year's size so they are a little big


soul salve {a song diary}

i can remember listening to an 'adventure in odyssey' long ago on the life of Horatio Spafford, the writer of the famous hymn 'it is well with my soul'.  it was super tragic, but i still remember it today. it was moving, for reasons i couldn't articulate as a child.

i downloaded this track from itunes the other day and have been listening to as i scrub floors & dust shelves in preparation for baby girl to arrive and i find myself oddly at peace.  i once heard someone say 'you can preach measles all you want but if you have the mumps that's what people will catch'.  there is nothing about the story behind this hymn that would naturally make anyone feel at peace but somehow the song just emanates peace. i can't say that i have ever gone through anything even remotely comparable to Horatio Spafford but it stills me amungst the piling laundry, growing physical discomforts & demands.  it's like a salve for the soul. a gentle reminder that in Christ nothing is lost, even when you've lost it all.

{it is well with my soul}

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford


fall favourites

i love autumn.  the cooling of earth's crust, the leaf shaking wind wallows, bare branches veining clear blue sky, a change of palette, the embers, burnt yellows & deep flushed reds.  beautiful.

with temperatures cooling, one may need a little warmth, a blanket for comfort.  here are some of my favourite fall comforts.

{pumpkin spice smoothie}
*this makes enough to fill three tall sippie cups & a tall glass for me!

2 bananas
1 can of pureed pumpkin {i always stock up on pumpkin this time of year, because you can't find it any other time of year...& i love pumpkin!  i have substituted squash before, which is also quite nice}
1 cup plain greek yogurt {when i make this for the kids, i substitute unsweetened goat or soy yogurt}
1 cup unsweetened almond or goat's milk
a dash of cinnamon & nutmeg to taste, drop of vanilla to taste
2 egg whites or one scoop of vanilla protein powder {i don't add this every time, just when this smoothie is substituting a meal}

combine all ingredients in blender & blend away.  i like my smoothies pretty thick so just add more milk if it's too thick {especially if using a sippie cup for the kids}.
*this is a great on-the-go snack or meal for the kids, with a nice serving of veggies

{pumpkin cranberry loaf}
this is a "cookie jen" recipe... also know as jen jones recipe!

2 cups multigrain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of butter {or you can use 1/2 cup coconut oil}
zest of one orange
1 and 1/2 cups of cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup orange juice {i just squeezed a cup of fresh orange juice...always trying to find uses for those things}
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup sugar {i used 1/2 cup of sucanat}
1 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 375F. sift together dry ingredients.  cream together wet. add cranberries. grease pan. bake for 60-75 minutes. cool before slicing.

{banana squash muffins}

1 and 1/4 cup mashed banana {3 medium bananas}
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut oil {melted}
1 squash, baked & pureed
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup sucanat
2 cups multigrain flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp allspice

preheat oven to 350F.  mix all ingredients together.  fill muffin tins & bake for 25 minutes.

{steel cut oats}

add desired amount of steel cut oats into big bowl {i usually use 2 cups for the kids & I in the morning}.  combine oats, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 or 2 apples diced, 1 zucchini pureed, dash of cinnamon & nutmeg.  heat on high in microwave for 15 minutes {i usually do this the night before & then refrigerate}.   add milk & enjoy!
* also try peanut butter & banana!


sunday best take II {small style}

matching ruby slippers!
i have definitely been tardy in my {small style} posts as of late.  life just happens sometimes.  you just apologize & move on! but this {small style} is a whole two hours early!

so here is the latest from the wilkins' fashion flaunts.  this was a sunday morning as we were leaving for church... as you can tell from davith's 'but you just told me to get in the car?' look.  i was very excited to find evie's little ruby slipper's at boomerang kids for $4 to match my own ruby slippers which i got from winner's.  they are my super special flats... kinda like my pink rubber boots.  someone once gave me a prophetic word about my ruby slippers... in fact i often get prophetic words about my shoes... which i think just justifies the purchasing of more shoes, you know, as a spiritual investment in my future!
 {davith}: sweater {carters}, jeans {children's place}, sneakers {gymboree}, umbrella {not sure how that got in there but it's from dollarama}

 {kai}: white shirt, vest & tie combo {cherokee}, hat, pants & shoes {gymboree}

 {evie}: dress {winners}, leggings {children's place}, ruby shoes {thrifted wonderkinds}
{this little one step is brought to you by my uncle martin who taught evie how to finally descend stairs}


beware...poop! {our potty training journey}

the view from the potty
*WARNING: this post contains a lot of poop, so if you are especially sensitive or queazy, beware!

this past week, we finally reached our goal of potty training! it has been a long, bumpy journey but we got there in the end!

we started potty training at the beginning of the summer just as dav was at the height of his irrational fear stage. so when his brother accidently pooped in the tub... it caused some issues with both the bath & pooping... and i don't blame him!  i had a few issues myself with pooping in the tub! this was untimely combined with our doctor recommending that we let the twins go o'natural as much as possible while outside to help avoid diaper rashes... which one can only imagine nearly gave our deck a rash! thank-goodness for garden hoses! poor davith!  after this little run of incidences, we put potty training on hold until our little poop phobia blew over.  

with the imminent arrival of baby #4, we thought we'd give it one last go... and to my surprise, it was so easy!  i really had my doubts that he would be potty trained before age 18! but we did it!  we chose to get away for a few days at the cottage and just get 'er done.  in the end the moral of the story is: when they're ready, they're ready... & there is no way around being ready.  and just in the nick of time too - baby is due in two weeks! potty training, check!

*more info: to potty train during our last attempt, we used the 1-3 day method from the babywise series which worked brilliantly for dav! it was a great resource for getting our own unique skew on potty training.

tips i want to remember for our second round of potty training are:

  • special "potty" activities: books, magnetic puzzles, tv time, white board with markers & apparently binoculars
  • just hunker down and get 'er done: choose a weekend where that is all you focus on
  • potty respite: plan to have hubby or family around to step in on the millionth trip to the potty
  • never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement: candies, praise, buttons... whatever works {avoid showing frustration}
  • don't pay any heed to what other kids are doing at your kids age... all kids are different & have different rates of readiness... don't try to make it happen, just let it happen when they are ready.


o holy night {a song diary}

i've been thinking a lot about birth lately... for obvious reasons. and i came across this song which describes the most monumental birth in all of history.  a beautiful picture that i rarely gaze upon but once a year when we break out the christmas tunes.  there is something about old hymns & christmas carols that needs to make a come back.  i'm not quite sure how to articulate it.  they carry a particular beauty & anointing that i have rarely experienced in modern worship songs. such depth & wealth of meaning is offered up.  maybe it's their regality or the old english but i just feel like they put me in my rightful place... before the King of kings.

i highlighted a few lines that felt especially heavy.  enjoy this early ode to christmas {although i like to think i celebrate christmas everyday}!

{o holy night}
o holy night! the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
long lay the world in sin & error pining. till He appeared & the soul felt its worth. a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn. fall on your knees! oh, hear the angel voices! o night divine, the night when Christ was born; o night, o holy night, o night divine! (x2)

led by the light of faith serenely beaming, with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
o'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, now come the wisemen from out of the orient land.
the King of kings lay thus lowly manger; in all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
behold your King! before Him lowly bend! (x2)

truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love & His gospel is peace.  chains He shall break, for the slave is our brother. and in His name all oppression shall cease.  sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, with all within us praise His holy name.  Christ is the Lord! then ever, ever praise we, His power & glory ever more proclaim! (x2)

*this is nicole witt's version of o holy night... a little different than the original but i still love it.  crank it up & find a quiet corner to just worship, you'll be changed because of it!


food, my frenemy

i have been thinking a lot about food & it's role in my life.  anyone who has ever had a fasting experience can attest to the how central food has become to our culture & lifestyle.  it's the hub of most of our social lives, the reward for a hard days work, a coping skill, a way to entertain.  most of my thought calories during the day are just made up of questions about food... when will i eat, what will i eat, how will i eat it, what will the kids eat, have we eaten enough.  food is important for obvious reasons.  but what is even more important is how you personally view food, which can become quite complicated.  the amount you consume, how you consume it & when you consume it are all popular topics in the news these days. i read somewhere that you can weigh 500 lbs and still be malnourished. some canadian courts have even gone as far as to mandate that persons in extreme overweight situations have their children taken away.  it certainly is a point of contention.

food & i have had long journey together.  as a child it was a form of entertainment, food fights & oddly shaped or named food where just some of the ways i enjoyed food.  as a university student & newly employed professional, it became a coping skill.  stress = consumption of disgustingly sugary or fatty food of some sort.  growing into a pregnant adult, it became my good friend the comforter, the security blanket. as a parent, it became a tool to manipulate & motivate my child's behaviour which sounds terrible, i know.  not unhealthy food in this situation, just healthy food used unhealthily.  i want my kids to want to obey because they love me not because they'd love a muffin.  bringing us up to now, where i am attempting to consciously change my previous, subconscious beliefs about food into an empowering reality for both me & my kids.  to transform food into my power source, my fuel, a means to an end, something i use to meet a need not a long list of wants.  i refuse to be mastered by you food.  you are not a friend nor are you an enemy.  you are my frenemy. to be enjoyed in a healthy, measured, responsible manner.


crispy baked sweet potato & beet chips

veggies are one of those challenging aspects of a healthy diet.  they are certainly not a common craving of mine, at least not until this pregnancy.  since the start of my second trimester, i just can't get enough squash, parsnips or sweet potato.  they say you crave what your body needs - which is funny because for my first pregnancy all i craved was chlorinated water & hot dogs... neither of which i think offered any essential nutrients.  but this pregnancy is a different story.  i am not typically a fan of veggies but i decided, for the sake of my kids, to give them a fair try.  and now i love them... this could just be one of those weird pregnancy altering hormone things but i'm hoping it lasts well past the third trimester.

the kids have unfortunately inherited my carb addictive behaviour which we are working hard to rectify.  they love anything that resembles toast or crackers.  i try to least make sure any carbs they consume are whole grain paired with some kind of protein.  however, there are only so many ways to prepare crackers & cheese or toast & peanut butter.  it's easy but just so boring & i don't want to get in a rut.  i want to keep them guessing & expanding their little taste buds as much as possible.  i recently found this creative little recipe from happy healthy mama & it was perfect! crispy crunchy like a cracker but full of veggie nutrients.  i ended up loving them even more than the kids which is great news because i can eat as many as i like adding up to a nice little total of veggie servings at the end of the day.

so without further adieu, here is the recipe for crispy baked sweet potato & beet chips.

1-2 beets, peeled & thinly sliced {the thinner the better - think slices will cause them to be soggy instead of crisp.  you can use a mandoline or i just used the thin slice setting on my food process}

1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced {don't bother to peel the sweet potatoes}

olive oil cooking spray

sea salt {i used veggie salt}

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  generously spray 2-4 baking sheets with the olive oil cooking spray {if you have a large oven you can do them all at once but i just did mine in batches}.  place the thin slices on baking sheet so they are not touching or overlapping.  spray the top with the olive oil spray & sprinkle with your desired amount sea salt {just a pinch will do ya... i definitely over-salted the first time thinking these would taste terrible}.  bake for 10 minutes, then remove the trays and flip over {i just flipped them by hand, it was the fastest}.  bake for another 5-9 minutes.  you really want to watch the chips at the end to watch them at just the right time and not allow them to burn.  when they start to look like they are brown, they are ready.  the timing seems to be different each time; it really depends on your oven, the size of your chips, etc.

when you first pull them out of the oven, they will not feel crispy.  allow them to sit for a minute or so on the pan & they will crisp up.  if they don't they need another minute or two in the oven.  these should be crispy, not soft or soggy at all.

continue with next batch & enjoy!
thanks happy healthy mama, these are the best!

because the work is done {labour day reflections}

forgiven much.

nail pierced grace will never let you go & christianity is a lifetime of becoming who you really are.
~ ann voskamp

"but my life is worth nothing to me unless i use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
~ acts 20:24


cottage wear {small style}

we have been spending lots of time at one of my favourite places in the world... the cottage! so i thought i would share some of our cottage stylin's.  one of the many reasons i love the cottage is because you really don't have to care what they wear.  just as long as it able to survive tromps in the mud with the bullfrogs & wild willy runs through the bushes.  it takes all the pressure off & saves a ton of time in the morning.

so here are some pics {usually i just dress them in onsies & let them free but this particular morning it was a little nippy so we layered}.

 {kai} jeans {joe}, long sleeved onesie {joe}

 {eva} onesie {carter's}, sweater {mexx}, jeans {children's place}
{molly moo cow} black spots {so last year}

 {davith} jeans {children's place *i love their jeans!}, t-shirt {children's place}, life jacket {mckinnon hand-me-down}