Prayer of a Parent

Here’s a recycled poem which I wrote a year ago.

My Red Leather Notebook

Precious in my eyes, this little one

Whose bright smiles cheer the day.

Precious in His eyes, this little one

Whose soul will never pass away.

Oh make me, Lord, to be so weighed down

With the burden of his soul.

To tell him that Christ, His life laid down

To make the broken sinner whole.

Help me to keep a view of life

That sees eternity over time;

Lead this child in the paths of eternal life

Whose little hand I hold in mine.

A quick poem based on the Ryle quote below:

“Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love them, think often of their souls. No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests. No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die. The world, with all its glory, shall pass away; the hills…

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How does my garden grow?


I have a long history of killing houseplants. Or at least, failing to keep them alive and thriving. Nevertheless, I wanted to try my hand at vegetable gardening.

When that first little seedling poked it heads above ground, I was ecstatic.

I truly had expected nothing to grow. To my surprise, most of the planted seeds sprouted, and grew, and thrived! I had a little lesson in transplanting, and ended up just starting over with some seeds directly in the garden.

My snow peas were one of the ones I did not have to start over (although I did plant more from seed). The transplanted ones are thriving now, and I was so happy to pick some of the first snow peas this week!

I thought my transplanted tomatoes had died after we had a late frost, but I left them planted anyway. Today I discovered that they are definitely growing and actually look much healthier than the ones I planted from the garden centre. They are, however, quite a bit smaller, so we’ll see what happens.


I did some reading on vegetable gardening before I planted everything, so I had some basic knowledge, but now I just water, weed, and wait. I’m surprised at how much I could fit into the (relatively) small space that we set aside for the garden.


This experimental summer is giving me great hope for the future. It’s even inspiring me to buy a few houseplants again, though I haven’t dared to, yet. Maybe in a few years, I’ll have a thriving vegetable garden, and indoor plants as well! 😉

Lowly Worm Birthday Party (part 2)

Part one here.

I had high hopes of making party hats for all the kids, but that fell through when I couldn’t find cheap enough material to do so. So I decided to make one only for the birthday boy-it is based on Lowly’s hat. It lasted just long enough to get a couple pictures and that was it. I also used some scrap material to make a bow tie to match Lowly’s. I used a snap, so you can’t adjust the size, but it worked out just fine.

I wanted to have at least one little game planned for the kids to do, since we were going to have a house full both days (14 kids the first day, 13 the second day). I printed off the high-quality Lowly picture full size (about 34 inches) and then taped it to a green background. I cut off his bow-tie, made a knock-off version of the birthday boy’s, and put tape over all the pages. The kids had great fun playing a spinoff of a classic party game–Pin the Bow-tie on Lowly. I hadn’t planned it, but it was handy that I had taped it because we just used a dry erase marker to put an initial where each kid had pinned the bow-tie.

I think someone was peeking when this picture was taken 😉


I had originally planned to do cupcake toppers, so I had made these little flags. I still wanted to use them, so I displayed them in little jars with our other decorations, and then popped one into each child’s goody ‘bag’ on their way out the door.


Each flag said “Noah is 1!” on one side, and had a little picture of Lowly doing something on the other.

With help from family, I collected 21 toilet paper tubes. I was originally looking for flip top tube containers, but couldn’t find any, and my wise sister-in-law suggested the toilet paper tubes. So I collected them, painted them, glued felt to the bottom, and used pipe cleaners for handles. Ta-da! I also printed little stickers that said, “Thank you for coming to Noah’s birthday party!”

I printed off some colouring pages I found online, along with activities I found at I tried to colour coordinate for age, so the blue tubes had harder pictures and an activity, like a maze, or connect the dot puzzle, and the yellow tubes just had one simple picture to colour. Along with the pictures, I put 3 or 4 crayons, a couple Rocket rolls, and a sucker. I wanted it to be simple, but with a bit of candy too, of course!


I found this basket at a liquidation store for $3 and thought it was super cute.

This is a picture of the little decoration display on the piano.


All in all, it was a ton of fun, but I must say I’m glad the next birthday is 6 months away! Just enough time to recover from this one and start planning for the next 😉

Red Leather Prints

Well, I’ve started a sort of business venture. Mostly just for fun 🙂

I hope you’ll check it out. I’ve got downloadable prints, and one physical item (Playroom Poster) for sale.

Here are two samples of printable products:

prov31wm ehtanelephant

Let me know what you think of them!

Also, I realize RedLeatherPrints is a lame name, haha. But I had to make one while opening the Etsy shop, and that was all I could come up with. Soooooo if you have any suggestions, by all means! share away 🙂

Also, if you have any requests for certain printables, send them my way and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

Would you rather have physical printed items that you pay for shipping, or downloadable ones that are cheaper, but you have to print yourself?


IMG_20140321_195304There is a big problem with having your first baby early. It gives you totally false expectations about the next baby. I’m exactly a week past when Elijah was born and I feel like I’ll be pregnant forever! Of course, I know, in my head, it’s better if this baby stays put for another couple weeks. But the rest of me is saying I want this baby NOW!

I’m stuck in a big rut of lack of ambition, ‘unmotivation’, laziness.. etc. I did so much baby prep, that now I only have a few little things left to do. Unfortunately I have neither energy nor incentive.

DSC_0060Perhaps once I’m in labour I will feel suddenly motivated to make those curtain tiebacks, iron a couple shirts, and finish Elijah’s little felt letter…

For now, I’m doing an awful lot of waiting…and waiting… Of course, 17 days till my due date is really no time at all, and if I think too hard, I may panic at how close it actually is!

It’s all a battle of the mind!


Baby prep: freezer meals

This isn’t usually the nature of posts on My Red Leather Notebook.. but oh well, the nature lately has been nothing! Enjoy my long-winded explanation of my freezer meals.

Sometimes I’m a bit more of a planner and talker, than a doer. I’ll find these great ideas and be all motivated, but then it gets a bit complicated and my excitement wanes and the project gets ditched. However, with a baby due in a little over 4 weeks, and the memory of baby #1 arriving 3.5 weeks early, I definitely wanted to be prepared. I love lists. So I made piles of lists, down to very minute tasks (because it’s so rewarding to cross this off the lists :P). I cleaned the pantry, kitchen cupboards, linen closet, you name it (except the fridge– still waiting for that bug to bite!). I baked and baked and baked and filled the freezer with delicious things for “after baby” while our “before baby” supply dwindled and nearly disappeared.

During all this, I knew that I wanted to have meals in the freezer, but I kept putting it off because I don’t often enjoy cooking one meal for supper, let alone stocking meals in the freezer. It just seemed like a lot of work. But these little thoughts of practicality kept nudging me and I knew I wouldn’t regret putting the work in now, rather than trying to get supper on the table with a screaming baby in my arms and a tired toddler hanging on my feet.

I don’t remember what I typed into Google. But somehow I came across this website: and more specifically, this page:

I was intrigued immediately by the 40 meals in 4 Hours idea. It didn’t sound like I needed to dedicate hours and hours of time to stock my freezer, and the meals were quite varied. So after mulling it over, I printed off the master grocery list (see how easy they make it?), and figured out what I still needed. Over two weeks of grocery shopping, I bought my non-perishables. I looked at flyers and called people and finally found a poultry shop where I bought all my chicken for a great price. The beef and pork I also bought on sale over the two weeks before I made the meals.

I made these meals on 4 different days. One night, before I had all the ingredients, I did the easiest part: labeling all the bags. I printed out all the recipes so that I wouldn’t be running back and forth to the computer to see what needed to be added next.

Day 2: We picked up all the meat. I trimmed the fat right away and sorted it into the freezer bags. Dan helped with this, and weighing the meat, so it went quite quickly. This step took about 2 hours. DSC_0483

Day 3: I pulled 11 bags out of the freezer. I set out all the ingredients I needed for those meals, chopped everything up, and then tossed everything into the appropriate bags. (time: +/- 1 hour)DSC_0485

Day 4: I pulled another 12 bags out of the freezer, and while Elijah ran around getting into trouble, I finished those meals off. I took an exhaustion break and went for round 2 and finished the remaining 17 bags. (1 hour in the morning, +/- 2 in the afternoon)


I figure it took me about 6 hours in total, which was good considering I had counted on it taking much longer. (Yes, it says 4 hours, but I think that’s if you’re ultra organized and have a good system. If I did it again, I think I could trim off an hour. By the end I was working much more quickly.) I wasn’t super particular about measurements either..


These recipes were large, and we aren’t big eaters, so many of them will be enough for 2 (some 3) meals. So that means we’ve got close to 3 months of weekday meals in the freezer. Of course, we won’t be eating them every day most likely, since I think I’d get sick of crock pot meal after crock pot meal after crock pot meal 🙂 But like I said, there is quite the variety in flavours, plus you can add more variety by changing your sides etc. (Some meals are complete, some are just meat and veggies, and some are just meat). Now I’m hoping they taste delicious! I eliminated/substituted ingredients I know we won’t like, but I was also brave and tried some new things, so we’ll see!

After adding up all of the money we spent on meat, other pantry items, I calculated that the cost will be less than $6/meal. Not bad! (I wasn’t super particular about keeping track of costs since I bought a lot of it with my regular groceries.)

And here’s one of the lovely messes I was left with 🙂 DSC_0494But I’ve now completed the number 1 thing I really wanted done before the baby is born, so I’m happy! That doesn’t mean I’m done though… I’m waiting for another big bout of nesting to kick in so I can get everything else done as well 🙂

p.s. stay tuned for pictures of my latest sewing projects!


Prayer for a Son

May God always keep and guide

This precious, young, undying soul.


May his heart always be set

To do what’s right instead of wrong

And may God be his Defender

Against the Enemy strong.


May he know the blood of Jesus

Can save him from his sins

And see how much he needs it

To cleanse him deep within.


May his days be often joyful,

But when sorrows cloud his day

Grant him grace to continue

And say, “The Lord leads me this way”.


May he never lose his child-faith,

Not despise his mother’s love

Neither forget his father’s words

But always seek his Maker above.


May he be tired, worn and weary

Until he finds a resting-ground,

In the arms of Christ the Saviour

In Whom all peace is found.


May he look over the hills unto the Lord–

All help from Him expect.

And may we always be a family

In this world and the next.


recycled post from January 🙂 Can you tell I’m a little lacking in inspiration these days? Or at least when I am inspired, alas, there’s no time to sit and write. (I did add the second last verse today..) Hopefully more to come soon!

Rain out the Window

DSC_0363I’ll remember you with squishy little toes, bare feet

With sticky little hands, leaving sticky little prints.

The world looks so wide out your window but

I want to keep you here safe from sadness.


The rain pours long and hard and all night long

We’ll learn in every state to be content

These are the happy, easy days when troubles

Are small and crumbled cookies on the floor.



the days that fill our lives

If life was like the movies, we’d be all slow motion, spinning in circles, laughter tossed up with our windblown hair, hands clasped together, impish smiles with mischievous twinkles to light our eyes. Instead it’s over all too fast and soon we are crying for unsettled stomachs, scraggly hair, and dirt under our toenails. DSC_0271This joy, the unspoiled sound of child’s laughter, is mine to hold onto. Through the fits, late nights, early mornings, sleepless in-betweens, I cherish the happinesses that are mine.

If life was like the movies, it’d be cheap, forgettable. Here in my arms I hold an unmistakable token of God’s love.

It’s real-time, not slow motion, as I tiptoe up the stairs. No trace of a care, no hint of pain, no uncertainty, upon that face…a world where all is well, where all love and are loved. And I need this before facing my own night tempted with images of plane crashes, train derailments, murders, unrest..bad news, bad news, bad news. But I will close my eyes in peace and sleep and hold you in my arms and spin, dance, spin, dance among the wildflowers in a beautiful place we have not yet known.